Fresh pineapple and sore tongue

I have just eaten some fresh pineapple and almost immediately my mouth, lips and tongue reacted with a strange prickling, burning, itchy, swelling sensation.  I googled it and many websites said the same thing: allergy to the bromelian enzyme in pineapples.

This didn’t make sense to me.  I have never had this reaction before and have often eaten fresh pineapple.

I then googled: chemicals used on pineapples and came across an article from The Guardian and then I understood why I had reacted to this pineapple that I had bought from Tesco’s.

Bitter fruit – The truth about supermarket pineapple

“Late morning, and the suffocating heat of Costa Rica’s rainy season has turned the air over the plantation leaden. On the horizon, where the spikes of thousands of pineapple plants merge into a grey-green fog, sits a spraying machine. Settled and silent for now, like a giant stinging insect that has briefly come to land, its long stick arms are folded back above its head while the belly of the tank on the trailer behind it, marked with a skull and crossbones warning, is being refilled with its next toxic load. Then the whine starts up again, the arms unfold, the spray nozzles open and it sets off towards us.

Alongside me, Fernando Ramirez, leading agronomist at the National University’s toxic substances institute, is explaining the agrochemical cycle required to produce perfect luxury fruit from a tropical monoculture. “Pineapples need very large amounts of pesticides, about 20kg of active ingredient per hectare per cycle. The soil is sterilised; biodiversity is eliminated. Fourteen to 16 different types of treatment are typically needed, and many have to be applied several times. They use chemicals that are dangerous for the environment and human health.” The chemicals involved are legal in Costa Rica but include some of the most controversial in the world.”

For me this is proof positive it is the chemicals on the pineapple causing the reaction to my tongue, mouth and as I write this, the burning sensation in my gullet.

I like the slogan Buy Organic Save the Planet, but it should be Buy Organic SOS (save our souls) because I truly believe it is the chemicals used on, in and/or made into a ‘food’ that are the largest  cause of ill-health.

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