A vicious rumour spread by text message has badly hit the price of bananas from China's Hainan island.The messages claim the fruit contains viruses similar to Sars, a severe respiratory illness.
Chinese authorities are appalled at the sudden slump in sales of the bananas following the groundless rumour.
"I am horrified that the world believes that China would import dangerous foods," a spokesman today commented, " We have done nothing to deserve this damaged reputation, except of course the toothpaste."
The spokesman was of course referring to an incident this month in which poisonous toothpaste was imported to Central America. When questioned further he also remembered that many pets had died in March as a result of melamine poisoning in pet foods imported from China.
Then of course, there was the November 2006 incident in which a dye farmers fed to ducks to make their eggs look fresher was found to contain cancer-causing properties.
A Hainan Island banana salesman commented, "China food very safe. This all lies. Killer bananas are not poisonous- just people eating them have very bad luck."