Home World

Rancid Durian Fumes Sicken 12, Spark Evacuation of German Post Office

Terrorist gas attack? No, just Thailand's most-infamous fruit

Durian Smelly Thai Fruit

A German post office was evacuated, and six workers hospitalized, after a parcel leaked noxious fumes that turned out to contain Thai durians.

Five dozen employees and customers cleared out of the post office in Schweinfurt with 12 workers treated for nausea, local media reported. Six ambulances, five paramedic units, and two police cars from three different stations responded to the incident, which – due to the noxious smell and the health impact it caused – was initially thought to be a terrorist gas attack.

No, it was just Thailand’s most infamous fruit.

The four durians had been shipped to a 50-year-old resident by a friend in Nuremberg. Despite the chaos the stinky fruit caused, they were still delivered to the recipient.

While some think durian has a pleasant smell and taste, most of the sane world equate it to “turpentine and onions garnished with a gym sock,” according to food writer Richard Sterling in Smithsonian magazine.

The fruit is widely banned from most public spaces and even hotel rooms. It’s also not the first emergency call durians have generated.

Students at the University of Canberra in Australia evacuated in May after a suspected gas leak, only to find out a durian caused the smell. In 2018, an Indonesian flight was delayed after passengers complained of a foul smell from the fruit.