Do a quick google search on thai coconuts and formaldehyde will give you a myriad of opinions and claims but no verifiable facts. There was a rumor started in Australia by one particular importer about the use of Methyl Bromide on all coconuts imported into Australia and how they had managed to avoid this process.
The truth in Australia, we have yet to determine the import conditions and requirements in other countries, is that formaldehyde is not used on young thai coconuts imported in Australia. Nor is Methyl Bromide a mandatory requirement by AQIS for all immature coconuts of thailand origin. For the those more questionable you can visit the Australian Government Department of Agriculture website and determine the import conditions using the DAFF Import Conditions Database (ICON).
As usual there is some truth to the rumors and speculation but with some eloborate distortion. A detailed descritption on the processing procedure can be found on the United States Department of Agriculture (Agricultural Research Service). This webpage outlines that after the husk is removed the coconuts are dipped in vat of water which contains 1-3 percent Sodium Metabisulfite for 2-5 minutes to prevent discolouration and fungal decay. Each coconut is then dried an individually wrapped.
Sodium Metabisulphite is a food grade antioxidant and preservative used to prevent oxidation (browning). It is used in a variety of other products; dried fruits, some fruit juices, baked goods, fish (shellfish), dried foods (potato chips), vinegars and used in the making of beer and wines. When vinegar and wine are fermented sodium metabisulphite is produced naturally. Technically, it is a natural preservative. Food scientists state that sodium metabisulphite is metabolized in the liver to harmless sulphate and excreted in the urine. To the majority of people it produces no adverse side effects. However, some people are allergic to sulphites and may experience respiratory problems.
But it's best to avoid chemicals were possible.
Our supplier who conducts independant testing has proven that with their supply sodium setabisulfite does not penetrate the husk and therefore no trace of the food grade solution is found in the water or the young meat. We can confidently state that our coconuts are chemical free.
A recent organic coconut from Thailand has the supermarket and organic grocery stores. It's sad to say but independant chemical analysis has shown that these coconuts do in fact have chemicals in the water and meat and are therefore not organic. Such a result casts doubt on the entire organic certification process or may be a result of inadequate supply being supplemented with conventional supply to meet unachievable supply demands due to the coconut shortages. You can read more about organi coconuts in our post chemical free coconuts.
The Young Green Coconut
Peace, Love & Coconuts