Killer Durian Fruit
Stinky fruit heralds a sticky end
From correspondents in Bangkok
May 31, 2004
AN elderly Thai man died after over-indulging in the notoriously pungent durian fruit, police said today, becoming the kingdom's second person to die this month from consuming the so-called king of fruit.
Thavin Chaiya, 68, collapsed at a fresh produce market in the northern Thai province of Chiang Mai Sunday after eating durian, police said.
"He ate it there at the market with friends. After eating for a while, he was asking for water and then he fell to the floor and convulsed," a local police officer said.
"He was known to drink a lot of alcohol, but he was not eating with alcohol at the time," the officer said, adding that the man died on the way to hospital.
Thavin was the second durian-related death this month, after a diabetic Thai civil servant from the central province of Singburi died during an eating binge on four durians.
That death sparked a warning by Thailand's Ministry of Public Health against excessive durian consumption.
The ministry advised eating no more than two segments of durian a day, warning that the fruit's calorie content posed a threat to people with high blood pressure, heart conditions and diabetes.
Thais consider durian to be a "hot" food that should not be mixed with alcohol and which should be offset by consuming other "cooling" foods.
The health ministry urged people to follow the traditional practice of eating durians with mangosteens, as the milder fruit reputedly induces the necessary "cooling" effect.
The spiny durian fruit is banned from most department stores and airlines in Thailand and elsewhere in Southeast Asia because of its pungent aroma.