Everything is not always what it seems – especially when it comes to food. You might think your favorite snack is innocent and harmless, when in fact, it may be hiding some deadly features. To look a little closer at the hazards, here are the Top 20 Foods That Can Literally Kill You.
Adding a little bit of honey to something here and there never hurt anybody – in theory. It’s the perfect natural sweetener, after all. But, in reality, it can be extremely dangerous if consumed unpasteurized. Many poisonous toxins are lurking in this sweet and sticky treat which can lead to headaches, dizziness, weakness, and vomiting. And, if you eat too much of it, it can even be fatal. Another downside; eating raw honey adds the possible risk of botulism in infants, a fatal illness, also known as “mad honey disease.” The moral of the story; before sweetening your tea, make sure your honey is well pasteurized.
Nuts, in general, are advertised as healthy and good for you. While this is true for the most part, there are some exceptions to the rule. Raw cashews, for instance. Okay, technically, cashews are classified as seeds, but you get the idea. As it turns out, the shell that protects cashews can be deadly since they have a coating of anacardic acid, similar to the substance found in poison ivy. If handled incorrectly, it can burn your skin and upset your stomach pretty badly if eaten. The only way to ensure safe consumption is to either roast, boil, or steam the cashew first. So, if you ever find cashews growing in the wild during your next hike, a piece of advice? Leave them be and stick to your trail mix!
Aside from the obvious possible choking hazard these little tasty fruits represent, cherry pits can do a lot more damage than you probably thought possible. It’s also the stones of fruit like apricots, plums, and peaches that can be an issue. As well as being nearly impossible to chew or crack with your teeth, the stones all contain amygdalin, a compound that produces cyanide when it enters the body. Spitting out pits seem to be the best way to avoid all the trouble. If you swallow one by accident, don’t worry, they’re rarely poisonous when whole – just be wary of the broken pits. While it would take quite a few before requiring a hospital visit, why risk it? These little guys could be your last hurrah.
Mushrooms are kind of controversial; you either love them, or you hate them. The same goes for their edibility – they’re either safe or they’ll kill you in seconds. Pretty easy to remember. Which is why if you ever decide to go on a “mushroom picking spree,” you need to be very, very sure of which fungi will not try to sneakily murder you, especially since many have an uncanny resemblance to edible ones. So much so that even experts can sometimes find it hard to tell the difference. With names like the “death cap” and “destroying angel,” taking your chances might not seem like the best of ideas. If you’re unlucky enough to eat a poisonous mushroom, it could lead to lead to kidney, liver, or respiratory failure, and even death.
16. Unpasteurized Milk
There is no use crying over spilled milk – unless that milk is unpasteurized, then, in that case, crying seems like the best solution. People tend to follow “the less processed, the better” train of thought. And while, that’s usually accurate, when it comes to milk, it’s the complete opposite. On the one hand, it has been proven by some studies that drinking unpasteurized milk has been associated with a decrease in allergies and might deliver a higher nutritional value. But on the other, it also comes with its fair share of risk, like the possibility of E. Coli, salmonella, and listeria, which can all be fatal. Just make sure your milk has been pasteurized and save yourself some worry, okay?
Alright, bagels are obviously not poisonous or dangerous for your health in any apparent way, but they could still end up being very dangerous for you. Believe it or not, this iconic breakfast staple is one of the most common causes of knife injuries in the kitchen. Slicing this doughy treat can be quite a hazard, especially if you’re in a hurry or simply aren’t paying enough attention. One little slip is all it takes to impale someone or cause a very deep cut. You might think we’re exaggerating , but in 2011, around 2,000 Americans had to go to the hospital due to bagel-related injuries. Maybe we should all sign up for bagel safety training.
14. Pufferfish / Blowfish
It’s not everyone who would be tempted to eat such an intimidating fish, but hey, to each his own, right? The blowfish, or pufferfish, is known worldwide for its toxicity and harmful effects. But in Japan? It’s a true delicacy. This fish contains a highly toxic neurotoxin called Tetrodotoxin, which can cause a fast, violent death. Oh, and there is no antidote. Hmm, sounds great. Tetrodotoxin affects the nervous system and leads to paralysis – while you’re still conscious. Chefs who wish to work with this delicacy need to train for at least two years and obtain a special license. So, if you still want to risk it all, don’t be a fool, be sure to get it from a licensed professional – and not some roadside food kiosk. Oh, and don’t try making this one at home, kids.
One of the most underrated vegetables, and turns out, one of the deadliest as well, is rhubarb. It can be used in so many great recipes like crumbles, cobblers, and pies. In other words, it’s a criminally under-appreciated delicacy. The only no-no with this one is to never ever consume the leaves. It may seem like a waste at first, but trust us, they belong in the garbage. Rhubarb’s leaves contain a chemical called oxalic acid – which is poisonous to humans. It will cause burning in the mouth and throat, breathing difficulties, coma, and eventually death. To reach this level of toxicity, you would need to ingest around 5kg of the leaves, but small quantities can still lead to serious health risks. And unlike cashews, cooking doesn’t break down any of the harmful compounds.
You might not be totally familiar with this next one, but in South Korea, it’s one heck of a popular snack. But, what is Sannkaji, exactly? Well, if you’re squeamish, you have now been warned. Sannkaji is a raw octopus that’s meant to be eaten while it’s still squirming. Come again? Those 8 arms are still slithering around the plate even though they’ve been chopped into bitesize pieces and served with sesame seeds and soy sauce. Besides the obvious ick factor, Sannkaji can still be active once swallowed so there are some real risks. Like the risk of choking on a wiggly sucker going down your esophagus. Around six people die every year from eating the dish, and yet, it’s still served. Weird.
Much like peanuts, shellfish is one of the most common and dangerous food allergies. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, shellfish allergies send more people to the emergency room than any other food. With nearly 7 million Americans suffering from this allergy, you need to be extremely careful and aware of what’s in your food. If you notice that your mouth itches, develop hives, or a stomachache after eating crab, lobster, or any other shellfish, breaking news, you might be allergic. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, vomiting, and even possible death if untreated.
10. Ghost Pepper
There are two types of people in life; those who like spicy food and those who can’t handle the heat. If you’re one of those who can never seem to put enough hot sauce on your food, then you have probably resorted to ghost peppers once or twice. If you multiply the flavor of Tabasco exactly 401.5 times, you have the intensity of a ghost pepper. Basically, this pepper is not messing around. Also known as ghost chili, this pepper is one of the world’s hottest foods. As spicy and satisfying as it may be, it’s not advised to eat a lot of them. Eating too much at once can cause severe stomach issues, seizures, as well as heart attacks – all of which could result in a painful death. If this is the price for spice, is it really worth it?
Ah, potatoes. Everyone’s favorite side dish! Fried, baked, mashed – any way is the right way to eat potatoes. Usually, potatoes are safe to eat – just be careful of those green ones – those are not so friendly. If you see a green potato, run in the opposite direction. The green parts produce a poison called solanine – highly toxic to humans and can cause serious illness if eaten in large quantities. You would have to consume about one pound of green potatoes for it to become fatal, but why even take the chance? Who really wants to eat green potatoes in the first place?
Marshmallows are a staple of so many great childhood memories. Campfire S’Mores, Rice Krispy treats – practically everyone has a fond memory related to marshmallows. Well, almost everyone. You see, marshmallows can be quite the choking hazard, especially when paired with the popular game Chubby Bunny. For those unfamiliar with the game, the goal is to stuff as many marshmallows in your mouth while still being able to say the words “Chubby Bunny.” It may seem harmless, but as a result, at least two people have died after suffocating on the fluffy stuff. So, needless to say, finding a more suitable game to play would save a lot of undesired results. The takeaway? Don’t stuff too much of anything into your mouth..I guess?
No, we’re not talking about reading your future; we’re talking about the starchy root vegetable that’s been growing more and more in popularity. Grown in Southeast Asia, the taro root can be cooked various ways and can be found equally in both savory meals and sweet desserts. But, don’t be too fooled by its enticing light purple color. When it’s raw, stay as far away as you can. It contains a toxic chemical compound called calcium oxalate, and it can cause the kind of experience you never want your body to go through. It can lead to severe kidney stones and, in some cases, death. Since it’s better to be safe than sorry, always roast, boil, or bake your taro.
6. Kidney Beans
While a raw food diet can be beneficial, there are certain things that should never be part of this trend. Like kidney beans. Cooked kidney beans are a great source of protein and fiber, but raw? Beware of the toxicity. Kidney beans contain high levels of phytohemagglutinin – a substance toxic to humans. If you cook them thoroughly, you should be good to go and poison-free, but if you get a couple of undercooked beans in the mix, you might be faced with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The FDA advises cooking the beans for at least 30 minutes to completely breakdown the toxin. As for canned kidney beans, they are pre-cooked and should be fine to eat straight out of the tin.
5. Hot Dogs
There’s no doubt America has a love for hot dogs. At this point, they’re basically a part of the identity. And despite the very questionable meats they’re made with, it’s not the reason why they could kill you – well, probably. Officially, it has more to do with the risk of suffocation that comes with chowing down on the delicious dog. In fact, Johns Hopkins University reported that hot dogs are the number one cause of choking-related injuries and fatalities in children under three years old. So before your little one gets to experience the greatness of a full sized hot dog with everything on it, a lot cutting up into bite-sized pieces should be done. Kinda like training to one day get to the big league.
Here comes another nut that’s supposed to be good for you, but when you look away, it completely switches sides: almonds. Just like cashews, almonds are considered seeds and not nuts, and also like cashews, they can be extremely toxic. They can be so dangerous that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made it mandatory for the seeds to go through special heat treatment and pasteurization before being sold to avoid salmonella infection. To be fair, though, it’s not every type of almond. It’s the bitter kind you should avoid because they are full of cyanide. 50 of these bad boys is said to be a lethal dose for adults. Fortunately, bitter almonds are pretty rare to find, so you should be good to buy your regular bag of chocolate covered almonds.
You can put cinnamon in so many things; it truly is a multi-purpose spice. While cinnamon isn’t dangerous in your recipes per se, it can be if you decide to follow the trendy internet games. You’ve probably heard of, witnessed, or even tried the cinnamon challenge that was popular a few years back. You know, the challenge where you needed to put a spoonful of cinnamon in your mouth and try not to choke? Well, it might be funny on camera, but in real life? It’s a whole other story. Since you’re really swallowing powdered bark from the Cinnamomum tree, it makes it impossible to swallow properly, aka – it’s a choking hazard. It can cause inflammation, scarring in your lungs, gagging, vomiting, coughing, and even possibly death. So, next time, think about putting that spoonful in your coffee instead.
This one you probably already know about, but a little memory refresher can’t hurt. You should basically never ever eat raw eggs. And not just because they’re disgusting, slimy, and overall unappetizing, but they’re also not safe. Eating raw eggs can result in severe diarrhea and vomiting that can quickly lead to dehydration and death if left untreated. Oh, and bonus point, ingesting raw eggs can also cause salmonella poisoning – which is never a really great experience. In other words, just avoid eating your eggs raw; it would probably do you more harm than good. So, I guess this means Rocky was starting out his training days all wrong.
Another spice, another danger. This Christmassy spice is the perfect addition to your custard or rice pudding, but also the worst thing to eat in large quantities. A little nutmeg is fine, but go overboard, and you could be looking at some serious psycho-active effects described as extremely unpleasant. Nutmeg poisoning symptoms include headaches, nausea, dizziness, and hallucinations, not to mention visual distortions and a sense of paranoia. Christmas just got a little less festive. Again, a sprinkle of nutmeg in your eggnog or in your cookies won’t hurt you – just make sure you don’t overdo it. Ho-ho-ho.