Dangerous foods come in all shapes, sizes and colors, but luckily they won’t make you drop dead instantly like a poisonous snake bite. While some dangerous foods can kill, most of them only cause painful symptoms, including vomiting, cramping dizziness and other unpleasantries. Still, it’s better to avoid the risk.
10) Fugu (Pufferfish)
Fugu, the Japanese word for pufferfish, is a delicacy that chefs must first pass a rigorous training before they are even allowed to deal with the poisonous fish. It contains the poison tetrodotoxin in its skin, ovaries, gonads and liver, so chefs must be able to navigate the edible parts without accidentally cutting any of the poison. One fish can kill thirty people by causing asphyxiation, and there is no known antidote. Every year about five people dies from fugu.
Ackee is a fruit from West Africa and became the national fruit of Jamaica after being exported to the country in 1778. It’s related to lychee, but unlike lychee, the fruit contains toxins hypoglycin A and hypoglycin B. The only edible portion is the yellow arilli that surrounds toxic black seeds and eating unripened fruit can cause Jamaican Vomiting Sickness.
8) Live Octopus
Popular in South Korea and Japan, live octopus looks like a food challenge for the squeamish as you’ll swallow moving tentacles. Unfortunately, sometimes the octopus’ suction cups get stuck in a person’s throat, causing them to suffocate to death. Some six people a year die in South Korea as a result of eating live octopus.
7) Wild Mushrooms
We all know about special mushrooms that cause hallucinations, but there are a variety of mushrooms that can be deadly. The most common of these deadly mushrooms is the Death Cap, which can be mistaken with the harmless Paddy Straw. Other mushrooms like the Destroying Angels and Deadly Webcap contain more than seven toxins that can cause death.
Rhubarb is more known as a pie staple, but one part of the plant you don’t use is the leaves. That’s because the leaves contain oxalate, which can poison people in large doses. The stems also contain the poison, but in a much lower capacity. Eating the leaves will result in sickness and dizziness.
Cassava isn’t a household name, but many know the plant’s root, which is called tapioca. Tapioca is a favorite among pudding enthusiasts, but the root can have deadly results if prepared incorrectly. That’s because cassava can create the dangerous compound cyanide.
Not many know this, but nutmeg is technically a hallucinogenic drug. Consuming .2 ounces can cause convulsions while eating .3 ounces can stir up hallucinations. For those who feel a bit braver, they can eat a whole nutmeg, but be warned, you’ll enter what’s called “nutmeg psychosis,” which can lead to death. In total there have been two nutmeg recorded deaths, one in 1908 and the second in 2001.
3) Unpasteurised Organic Honey
No need to fear the honey you buy at the store, as all commercial honey is processed in order to kill the harmful toxins in it. However, unpasteurised organic honey doesn’t kill the harmful toxins like grayanotoxin. This toxin can cause vomiting, nausea, dizziness and a slew of other symptoms that will last for a day. If you eat too much of the honey, you can die.
2) Hot Dogs
You wouldn’t really think of hot dogs being a dangerous food, but they are to blame for 17 percent of food-related asphyxiations among children younger than 10, according to a Harris Poll. The reason is children try to swallow too much and the food’s shape easily gets caught in throats. With choking the leading cause of child deaths, hot dogs pose a huge risk for families, but there’s an easy fix: chew your food.
1) Castor beans
For those who watch “Breaking Bad,” you may already know castor beans are poisonous when main character Walt White created a poison from them. In every day life, though, harmless castor oil derived from the beans is used for stomach aches as well as in food flavorings and colorings in candy. However, the bean itself is extremely dangerous because one bean contains a single gram of ricin, which is thousands of times more powerful than cyanide. There is no remedy for ricin and one castor bean can kill a child, while a few can kill an adult.