The price of yellow tomatoes in Taiwan has boomed 50-fold, from NT$10 (US$0.29) to NT$500 (US$14.46) a kilo, because of a television programme which said that the fruit can help diets.

The Singapore Straits Times has reported that some supermarkets have even been importing yellow tomatoes from Holland to make up local supply shortfalls. The run on yellow tomatoes followed broadcast claims from the host of a popular diet programme, Ms Beauty Yu, that a man had lost 15 kg in three months simply by eating yellow tomatoes. She said she later tried this miracle diet and lost 1 kg in a week while otherwise eating normally.

By Keith Nuthall, correspondent