Rotten onions, turpentine, and raw sewage are just a few of the comparisons commonly named to describe the odor of durian, the world’s stinkiest fruit. Native to Borneo and Sumatra the bizarre, spiked fruit is the most divisive of Marmites in that while some people adore its strong odor and sweet flavor, others are so repulsed by it that they fear a chemical threat has been unleashed, which is precisely what happened in a Bavarian post office last week.
A suspicious, pungent parcel was flagged up after workers at a post office in the town of Schweinfurt, Germany, reported feeling unwell after breathing in “fumes”. Emergency response teams arrived in their droves to deal with the potentially hazardous item, with police, firefighters, and emergency services attending the scene. Twelve postal workers were treated for nausea on the scene and six were transported to receive medical attention, reported German broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk. Sixty people were cleared from the building as fears mounted that the parcel was emitting a harmful substance.
"Due to the unknown content, it was initially unclear whether the suspect package posed a greater risk," a spokesperson from Schweinfurt police department said, according to a report from CNN.
Courageously, the police inspected the parcel only to find that the overwhelming odor was not the result of some harmful gas but instead the perfume of the infamous durian. The delivery was a shipment of Thai durian fruits, sent by a friend to a 50-year-old resident in Nuremberg who is reported to have now received the malodorous gift.
Durian is well known for its overbearing scent and travelers across Asia may be familiar with posters demonstrating that the spiky fruit is banned from many hotels, hostels, and onboard public transport (if only we could get the same protection for egg and cress sandwiches in the UK). This isn’t even the first time its highly acquired perfume has sparked fears of a harmful gas leak. In 2018 a library in Melbourne, Australia, was evacuated only to find a durian snack was to blame.
While a seemingly unattractive option, durian is booming in popularity among Chinese consumers and represents a lucrative trade in Thailand. There are 200 different durian cultivars with differing scents and flavors that have now been reimagined, featuring in cakes, ice cream, and even on pizza. But, unless you want to end up in the microwaved fish consumer hall of office shame, we’d recommend you leave durian out of your lunch box.
[H/T: The Guardian]