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Young Thai Coconuts and Formaldehyde

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  • Scott Munson
    Pat, hi! I have not heard formaldehyde preservation alleged for coconuts...I have heard sodium metabisulfite. Three years ago, Dr. Tim Trader received an email
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 10, 2006
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      Pat, hi!

      I have not heard formaldehyde preservation alleged for coconuts...I
      have heard sodium metabisulfite.

      Three years ago, Dr. Tim Trader received an email from a personal
      source, a (Mexican, if I recall) young coconut supplier who sent us the
      following statement, which he said we could use as long as we retained
      his anonymity:
      "Each trimmed nut is immersed in a solution of sodium meta bisulfite
      - SMS (at a concentration of 3%, mixed with a fungicide, thio
      bendazole) for 5 minutes, then dried. This is to avoid that the nut
      turns brown upon exposure to air"
      John Kohler then did some research and wrote his now-famous article,
      which many have seen. I am pasting it below.

      Tim tells about birthday parties in Hawaii where they float coconuts in
      water with food coloring, and how delighted the children are when they
      open the coconuts and pour blue or green coconut water into a cup. This
      indicates that the "hard" shell of the coconut is utterly permeable,
      and whatever fungicide it is dipped in goes directly into the water and
      meat.

      For what it's worth...

      Laurie

      Laurie Masters, freelance editor
      Precision Revision
      "I turn what you wrote into what you meant!"
      LaurieM@...
      408-289-1011

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      --------


      Reports of Young coconuts being treated prior to shipment

      We have had reports that the young coconuts that are shipped over from
      Thailand may be treated with a preservative and a fungicide before
      being shipped.

      The young coconuts are it dipped into a solution of sodium meta
      bisulfite (3% concentration with a fungicide thiobendazole) for 5
      minutes.

      This information has not been confirmed. We are still investigating
      this, and want to get product testing done to see if there is any
      residual chemicals inside the coconut meat and water.

      We are still investigating this, and want to get product testing done
      to see if there is any residual chemicals inside the coconut meat and
      water.

      I believe the coconuts nuts are treated in this way for two reasons:

      1. The Sodium solution acts as a "preservative". Similar
      preservatives are commonly used in beer making and wine making -
      Sulfides (Sulfur dioxide) as well as dried fruits (so they keep their
      "pretty color). If the nuts were not preserved, they would turn brown
      and begin to oxidize.

      2. The Thiabendazole is a systemic benzimidazole fungicide used to
      control fruit and vegetable diseases such as mold, rot, blight, and
      stain. It is also active against storage diseases and Dutch Elm
      disease. In livestock and humans, thiabendazole is applied to treat
      several helminth species such as roundworms. Thiabendazole is also
      used medicinally as a chelating agent to bind metals. This same
      fungicide is widely used on CONVENTIONAL produce, most commonly
      bananas. If you read most ANY box of conventional bananas, it will say
      "treated with Thiobendazole".. It also appears that Apples, Pears and
      Citrus are widely treated with this same fungicide.

      Please read on for further information and links regarding the above
      two chemicals.

      1. More information on Sodium meta Bisulfite -
      MSDS Sheet
      Canada's information about Sulfitest
      The Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances
      Management of Fungal Diseases in Tropical Fruits PDF

      2. Thiobendazole
      Pesticide Information Profile
      Evaluation of pesticides in food

      Chemical Abstract Number (CAS #) 148798
      Synonyms Thiobendazole, 1H-Benzimidazole, 2-(4-thiazolyl)- Arbotect
      Storite, 2-(4-Thiazolyl)benzimidazole

      Analytical Method EPA Method 641

      Molecular Formula C10H7N3S

      Use: FUNGICIDE FOR SPOILAGE CONTROL OF CITRUS FRUIT; FOR TREATMENT OF
      DUTCH ELM DISEASE IN TREES; FOR CONTROL OF FUNGAL DISEASES OF SEED
      POTATOES; MEDICATION ANTIHELMINTIC (NEMATODES); MEDICATION (VET):
      ANTHELMINTIC. Agricultural fungicide Medication: anthelmintic As
      fungicide, controls green mold, blue mold, and stem end rot of citrus
      fruits;to control Fusarium basal rot and Penicillium blue mold on
      ornamentals bulbs and corms; to control crown rot on bananas; to
      control blue mold rot, bull's eye rot and gray mold on apples and
      pears; to control black rot, scurf and foot rot of sweet potatoes; to
      control Fusarium (dry rot) in potato storage. Also as a preservative
      for reconstituted tobacco. Control of Aspergillus, Botrytis,
      Ceratocystis, Cercospora, Colletotrichum, Corticium, Diaporthe,
      Diplodia, Fusarium, Gibberella, Gloeosporium, Oospora, Penicillium,
      Phome, Rhizoctonia, Sclerotinia, Septoria, Thielaviopsis, Verticillium
      spp., etc in asparagus, avocados, bananas, barley, beans, cabbage,
      celery, chicory, cherries, citrus fruit, cotton, some cucurbits, flax,
      mangoes, mushrooms, oats, onions, ornamentals, pawpaws, pome fruit,
      potatoes, rice, soya beans, strawberries, sugar beet, sweet potatoes,
      tobacco, tomatoes, turf, vines, and wheat. Also used for control of
      storage diseases of fruit and vegetables. A food additive permitted in
      the feed and drinking water of animals and/or for the treatment of
      food-producing animals; also permitted in food for human consumption.

      Apparent Color COLORLESS CRYSTALS; WHITE TO PRACTICALLY WHITE POWDER;
      White crystals; Tan crystals
      Odor ODORLESS
      Melting Point 304-305 DEG C
      Molecular Weight 201.26
      Half Life 30 days

      Conclusion:
      If one is eating conventional produce: the treatments of the young
      coconuts are not anything "outside of the ordinary". If one is eating
      non-organic bananas, one is probably getting Thiobendazole exposure.
      Its also present on apples, citrus, pears, and other fruits and
      vegetables (as mentioned above). The Sulfides that the cocos are
      dipped in are also present in many processed foods, as well as wines
      and dried fruits. Once again, this chemical probably also appears in
      one's diet at some point anyway.

      I am personally reducing my consumption of young coconuts until further
      investigation and testing can be done to determine the amount of
      residual chemicals absorbed into the meat and water of the coconut.

      I am normally very sensitive to any "conventional" treatment of
      produce. If I eat other kinds of produce that is treated, I will break
      out in rash.
      When consuming young coconuts, this has not happened to me. My
      girlfriend reports that occasionally after consuming a young coconut
      she will have an asthmatic response. This is possibly due to the level
      of sulfites present in some coconuts. I believe that some coconuts may
      absorb the chemicals in greater concentration than others.

      Another precaution I am taking is to never unwrap the outer plastic the
      coconuts come wrapped in, and only handle the coconuts by the plastic.
      I will no longer be composting the young coconut shells in my organic
      compost pile due to the fungicide (which has a half life of 30 days).

      If I had to choose between non-organic bananas, apples, pears or citrus
      fruits for a "does" of Thiobendazole, I would much rather consume young
      coconuts to get my daily dose.

      The above statements are my personal opinions, and research. This is
      not given as medical advice. Please consult your doctor for medical
      advice..

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      --------
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Pat
      To: SFLivingFoods@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sunday, April 09, 2006 7:13 PM
      Subject: [SFLivingFoods] Young Thai Coconuts and Formaldehyde


      There is a lot of discussion that these coconuts, after being trimmed
      to a smaller white husk core, are preserved, however, in reading this
      document http://www.fas.usda.gov/GainFiles/200308/145985752.pdf though
      dated, it seems formaldehyde is prohibited from use...not to say that
      the young coconut is not preserved, but where's the evidence that it's
      been dipped in formaldehyde before it reaches the States?

      Pat







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