18 Foods You Didn’t Know Could Kill You

Our survival revolves around food, our lives, and memories around its taste. Cultures flaunt their traditional dishes and cuisines compete to deliver exciting tastes and sensational flavors. You may find that some of your fondest memories involve food such as the chocolate you had on your first date, the first lasagna you tried to cook and the best apple pie that your grandma cooked every Saturday. However, if you are unfortunate, some of your dreadful memories might involve food as well, such as the time you got sick after something you unwittingly had and they had to rush you to a hospital having been poisoned.

Today, we will look at a must-have list of foods that you ought to be careful with to avoid a bad incident. You may come across these foods as you tour the globe, while some are already part of your regular diet.

Read on and get informed about these foods you might want to avoid.

18. Hot Dogs

We are not discussing the usual health risks the iconic American meal poses here. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced that hot dogs may get lodged in the throats of children younger than 10. The Academy stated that children consuming hot dogs must not be left unsupervised and suggested issuing a warning label on hot dogs packages. The Academy even proposed a redesign to prevent the offensive food from posing a choking hazard. So much to all the hot dogs jokes out there!

17. Nutmeg

The taste of this Caribbean spice is bound to remind you of kebab or thanksgiving. However, the delightful taste does not alter the fact that nutmeg is hallucinogenic. If you consume a mere teaspoon of this spice uncooked, you will experience rapid heartbeat, a feeling of nausea and even vomiting. The symptoms rarely persist for more than a week. On a positive note, the usual nutmeg spice in your kitchen is not in its raw form and thus not lethal.

16. Peanuts

For 99% of the population, peanuts are a delicious source of protein, magnesium, and fiber. For the unlucky 1% however, peanuts can be fatal. The American Academy of Allergy stated that peanuts allergy is the number one cause of food-allergy related deaths. 0.6% of the US population suffer from peanut allergies and it affects 1.4% of the children in the US.

15. Mushrooms

Mushrooms give Mario an extra life but they might take yours. It’s common knowledge that wild mushrooms are dangerous and sometimes fatal. The symptoms of mushroom poisoning range from cramps, nausea, and diarrhea to kidney failure and death. It is safer to stick to those sold in grocery stores and cook as instructed.

14. Leafy Greens

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group sponsored by the FDA released a study in 2009 listing leafy greens such as lettuce, cabbage, arugula, kale, and spinach as the most dangerous foods of the year. The study associated these leafy greens, especially those served in restaurants, to contaminants such as the Norovirus, E. coli, and salmonella. Washing leafy greens properly, however, reduces the risk of such contamination.

13. Kidney Beans

Did you know that you can make brownies with kidney beans? Did you also know that kidney beans can be poisonous? Unfortunately, lectin, a type of glycoproteins makes up a good part of kidney beans. Lectin is notorious for destroying stomach cells causing nausea and vomiting and triggering diarrhea. For this reason, dried kidney beans must be soaked in water overnight before cooking.

Next, it may keep the doctor away, but…

12. Rhubarb

Although this uncommon plant was used for medical purposes when it was first discovered in China, the CDC advised against consuming rhubarb leaves in any form. The “pie plant” apparently includes oxalic acid which is fatal in amounts as little as 5 grams. If you want to include rhubarb in your meals, cut the leaves off and throw them away. Make sure to strip the stringy ribs as well.

11. Apples

So an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but that does not apply for its seeds. Apple seeds contain a lethal toxin called cyanide. Seeds are tiny and you will eat plenty of apple cores before it affects you but be careful. Moreover, apples are often sprayed with pesticides that stick to the fruit and are very dangerous when consumed by humans. Make sure to wash the fruit thoroughly before consumption.

10. Honey

The sweet nectar is a wonderful addition to your diet, however, it may contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which may cause cirrhosis and even cancer. This happens if the bees were foraging on the flowers of plants that produce PAs, but pasteurization fixes the issue. Honey also contains a dangerous bacteria called Clostridium botulinum which is known for causing botulism. A healthy adult will not be affected by the level of botulinum in honey but babies yet to celebrate their first birthday are forbidden to eat honey or any of its products.

9. Celery

Celery includes 64 different chemicals on the surface and within. The water-rich plant absorbs plenty of water from the soil that fosters it. This water has highly likely washed different pesticides that celery will take in as it grows. If you can not live without it, you should try organic celery.

8. Tuna

Known as the most popular fish on the globe, tuna is a splendid source of protein and omega 3 acids.

However, toddlers and pregnant women are advised against consuming too much tuna. The reason behind that is the high mercury levels contained in the whitefish which may harm the fetus or impair the nervous system development. Tuna is also one of the fishes that may cause Scombroid if refrigerated improperly.

7. Blueberries

Blueberries are very attractive to insects and often endure many rounds of pesticides and fertilizers before they reach the market. Unfortunately, one tiny berry may include over 50 types of pesticides that pose a threat to humans and our ecosystem. Try frozen berries as they contain lower levels of chemicals.

6. Cassava

The popular pudding flavor might be fatal as it secretes cyanide when improperly prepared. More famous as tapioca in the US, cassava might also cause serious allergic complications for some people. The American Cancer Society argued that cassava allergy is more common in those who already suffer from latex allergy.

5. Ackee

You have to eat this Jamaican fruit just right; unripe or overripe ackee is notorious for the Vomiting Sickness of Jamaica. This dieter’s favorite contains plenty of vitamins and healthy fatty acids, its taste is irresistible to some people. However, it may be fatal causing cholestatic jaundice, convulsions, coma, and potentially death.

4. Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts provide selenium which plays a critical role in fighting cancers and heart disease, improving metabolism, and ensuring proper thyroid and immune system gun

However, too much of this substance will cause you a metallic taste, bad breath, hair loss and lack of energy. Three of these nuts a day are too much.

3. Casu Marzu 

Casu marzu is a celebrated traditional Sardinian sheep milk cheese that contains maggots. The cheese is deliberately infested with live insect larvae. These guests help achieve a new decomposition stage for the cheese which will become extra soft, filled with liquid and of course the living guests. On some occasions, larvae may survive the chewing and digestion which will lead to pseudomyiasis. The food is outlawed in Europe but available for extremely high prices in the Sardinian black market. Go figure.

2. Fast Food

Delicious, addictive, convenient and, well, fast, fast food is responsible for unprecedented numbers of diabetes, blood pressure and obesity in our societies. According to research, fast food is one of the leading causes of death in the USA killing more people than tobacco. The process encompassing the production of fast food and the number of preservatives included within is believed to cause certain types of cancer. What else are you waiting for to cut down on junk?

1. Puffer Fish

The delicacy required when preparing fugu could mean the difference between enjoying a wonderful Japanese meal and death. The internal organs of the pufferfish are highly toxic, their poison is so dangerous it paralyzes the muscles restricting the movement of the victim that lay wide awake and unable to breathe until death from asphyxiation. Proper medical intervention will help the victim breathe until the poison is metabolized and eliminated as no antidote is yet available


Our choices regarding food could really define the path our life takes. It is important to be informed about the diet we live by, read about the outlandish places we’re visiting, and make healthy educated decisions when it comes to what goes into our bodies.

John Leroy Atwell summed up the dangers of food in his poem Some Little Bug.

In these days of indigestion
It is oftentimes a question
As to what to eat and what to leave alone;
For each microbe and bacillus
Has a different way to kill us,
And in time they always claim us for their own.
There are germs of every kind
In any food that you can find
In the market or upon the bill of fare.
Drinking water’s just as risky
As the so-called deadly whiskey,
And it’s often a mistake to breathe the air….

So think before you eat!