UPDATE: We never thought we’d write these words, but it looks like the Daily Mail was right? Or anyway, even if these are not Photoshopped, they aren’t related to Fukushima. Here’s MSN’s retraction: “A post on a website in Japan reports that these images aren’t related to the Fukushima disaster.” Which doesn’t necessarily mean the photos are fake, but maybe they’re just a collection of freaky vegetables that happen naturally, and in fact it’s nature itself we should be terrified of.

Maaaybe it’s not a good idea to set up your vegetable garden outside a nuclear power plant. Certainly it’s not a good idea to set it up outside the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, which melted down in 2011 in the wake of an earthquake and tsunami. At least that’s the implication of these creepy photos, which look as if they were ripped from a dystopian sci-fi novel:

Who's hungry?
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Who’s hungry?

creepy-mutated-corn
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mutated-veggie
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creepy-mutated-cherry
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Yikes. MSN breaks it down:

[These photos of] of produce from towns and villages surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant … are NOT pretty pictures. From Siamese-twinned corn cobs to what can only be called peaches with elephantiasis, the region’s agriculture appears to have taken a heavy radiation hit from the nuclear disaster in 2011. It’s not clear yet what effect eating the produce might have on the population.

iScience Times is quick to point out that none of the 18,500 deaths connected with the catastrophes were due to radiation exposure. But the site adds that radiation levels in groundwater near the plant were 30 times the typical limit as recently as last month, and a study of Japanese butterflies last August found that 12 percent were deformed.

Surprisingly, the usually sensationalist Daily Mail is skeptical, asking if the photos are a hoax and possibly doctored. Well! In that case, who wants to hang out at the nearest nuclear plant after school tomorrow?!