Fraudulent Bananas

Fraudulent banana

Fans of the banana, who are legion, are being warned to be wary of short measures. Reports have recently surfaced of bananas which, when opened, don't go all the way from end to end. In some cases they have been found to be empty entirely.

"Banana fraud isn't something new," said Polly Camber, Trading Standards' head of fruit. "Initially it was quite easy to determine whether a banana skin was filled to capacity. One simply had to squeeze the skin to detect if it was only partially filled. But this was before the banana bandits started getting clever."

Camber is referring to the relatively new practice of stuffing banana skins with rags, old newspapers and other items to make them appear as if they are fully loaded. "They can be quite ingenious," she told us. "I've seen bananas with just half an inch of fruit at either end and a spring in the middle, keeping them apart and providing tension. They are getting more and more inventive and, to be honest, it's got to the point where we all get really excited when we open up a new one, because we're never certain what we're going to find. My colleague found a little plastic aeroplane in one the other day. He was well chuffed."

It might sound quite harmless, if somewhat irritating, but recent events have changed all that. Rogue banana merchants have started using compressed air in their 'nanas, and this is causing considerable concern.

"No one likes a floppy banana," Mrs Camber said. "So in order to make them sufficiently rigid they are inflated to pressures way beyond their natural tolerance. It only takes one faulty seam to give way and whump! Bananageddon! We've been lucky so far; no one's been hurt. But only the other day we heard about a banana going off in a fruit bowl in Devizes that took out two pomegranates and a plum, so it's really only a matter of time."

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