Insight & Analysis

Smell that?

Published: Jun 2020

It’s known to many across Southeast Asia as ‘the King of the Fruits’, but this town in Germany thought it was something more sinister…

Durian fruit

A post office in the Bavarian town of Schweinfurt, Germany, had to be evacuated due to a suspicious package with a pungent smell.

The culprit? Durian fruit.

Known to almost everyone in Southeast Asia, the Durian fruit is native to Borneo and Sumatra. Sometimes known as ‘the King of the Fruits’, the Durian can grow up to 30cm long and weigh from 1-3kg. It is perhaps most recognisable by its distinctive smell – which some have described as being pleasantly sweet, whilst others have likened to raw sewage or rotten food.

The odour is so strong and persistent – it can linger for several days – many hotels and public transport in the region have banned it.

In Schweinfurt, post office workers alerted officials to the smell emanating from a package, and firefighters and police were sent to the scene.

“Due to the unknown content, it was initially unclear whether the suspect package posed a greater risk,” Schweinfurt police said in a statement.

Police said 12 postal workers complaining of illness from the smell were treated by medical personnel at the scene, while six were taken to a local hospital as a precaution.

The police also clarified that the package did reach its intended recipient in the end – though we can’t say we envy them…

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