We all know that eating anything that is wrapped in bacon or craziness like this macaroni and cheese sandwich (!) is going to kill you. Eventually. As will a hundred or so trips to KFC. The real KFC, that is. But then there are those foods that will immediately remove you from the gene pool with the flick of a fork. Here are 5 foods that, when consumed improperly, will likely send you to the grave. Captain Obvious warning: DON’T EAT THESE FOODS.
Widely known as the fish that nearly killed Homer Simpson, one pufferfish has enough tetrodotoxin in its liver, ovaries, intestines and skin to kill 30 people. Ingesting very small amounts of tetrodotoxin can cause a pleasant tingling sensation, but tetrodotoxin poisoning causes dizziness, weakness and nausea. Victims usually remain conscious while the tetrodotoxin causes the paralysis of the muscles of the lungs and heart. None of this has stopped the edible flesh of the pufferfish (also known as fugu) from becoming a delicacy in Japan. Even though chefs who prepare fugu are highly trained and licensed to serve it, deaths have still occurred. Thirty-one fugu-related deaths were reported in Tokyo between 1996 and 2005.
- Bitter Almonds
Don’t worry, that box of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds is safe. (The roasted almonds you are used to munching on are sweet almonds, which are safe for humans to eat.) However, bitter almonds, which are used to make products like almond extract and amaretto, contain hydrogen cyanide. Eating just a handful of raw bitter almonds could lead to dizziness, difficulty breathing and even death. The only way to remove the cyanide in the almonds is to crush, soak and wash them in water.
If you’re looking for something a little more exciting than jerk chicken on your next Jamaican vacation, you might want to try ackee, which is the official fruit of the country. Consuming the wrinkly yellow fruit can lead to vomiting, seizures, coma or death if the hypoglycin found in under-ripe or overripe seeds contaminates the edible flesh of the fruit.
Primarily used in the production of tapioca in the United States, cassava (sometimes known as yucca) is a tuberous root vegetable that also produces toxic hydrogen cyanide. If cassava is not prepared properly, cyanide poisoning can occur — leading to asphyxiation. The cyanide in sweet cassava is only located in the skin, so it is safe to eat once the skin has been peeled and the tuber boiled. However, bitter cassava requires that you soak it in water before boiling it to make it safe to eat.
- Potatoes (that have turned green)
Potatoes? Yes, potatoes produce a toxin called solanine as a natural repellant from insects. In small amounts, solanine is perfectly safe for humans. But when potatoes turn green, it is a sign that the levels of solanine in your potatoes are unsafe. Consuming too much solanine can lead to nausea, diarrhea and in extreme cases numbness, hallucinations, paralysis and death. So if your potatoes turn green? Don’t eat them, dummy.