Weird Food: The Most Dangerous Foods You Can Eat

Come from: 2014/04/16

From exotic delicacies to seemingly everyday edibles, these weird food items might look tempting, but proceed with caution—they could actually kill you.



Indigenous to West Africa, but most commonly associated with Jamaica, this fruit can cause severe vomiting if eaten before it’s fully ripe.You’re okay to nosh if the red pod has burst open on its own—just stick with the yellow-hued flesh.



Several African and South American cultures turn this tuber into a filling mash or a dense cake—but only after cooking it very thoroughly. When chewed, raw cassava releases the enzyme linamarase, which converts a compound in the root into cyanide.



Fermented Greenland shark earns its place on the list because the species doesn’t have a urinary tract, which means all waste and potentially toxic substances get filtered into the animal’s meat. It takes a six-month process to render the delicacy safe-to-eat.



What many people would consider gross-out fare worthy of reality TV, the Sardinians call tradition—a sheep’s-milk cheese wriggling with live maggots and banned across the European Union. The larvae inhabiting this pungent pecorino aren’t lethal, but they can survive being swallowed and, consequently, wreak havoc in your intestinal lining. We’ll spare you the graphic details; let’s just say you won’t be leaving your bathroom for a few days.



Speaking of still-moving eats… If you’re feeling daring, you could also sample this Korean preparation of raw baby octopus. Because the cephalopod’s limbs contain neurons, the extremities continue to move and the suction cups maintain their gripping power, even after getting detached from the body and dosed with sesame oil. That means that unless you chew carefully and repeatedly, the suckers could latch onto your mouth and throat on their way down. (Hello, choking hazard!)



Unless you have a nut allergy, you probably wouldn’t think to worry about these crescent-shaped nuggets. But when raw, cashews contain urushiol, which can be fatal in large quantities. The bags of “raw cashews” on grocery-store shelves are deceiving; those kernels have actually been steamed to rid them of the dangerous chemical.



You won't have any problems if you enjoy the ripened flesh of these violet orbs in jam or jelly; you may have even seen them (or their flowers) used in homeopathy to treat skin wounds and colds. But the leaves, twigs and seeds can present a problem if ingested, specifically in the form of nausea and other more severe forms of sickness.




Adventurous eaters traveling to Namibia might seek out this amphibian creature, whose skin and innards contain a variety of substances toxic to humans. Locals deem them okay to consume after the area’s “third rain,” and once the critters have finished mating. Fair warning: If you eat the wrong bits (or at the wrong time of year), you risk kidney failure.





Relatively hard to find—they’re harvested in the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic, and some parts of the Pacific—these bivalves live in a lower oxygen environment than their more widely consumed cousins and, thus, filter way more water to get the nutrients they need. In turn, they may ingest more viruses and bacteria, including hepatitis A, typhoid, and dysentery. If you spot them, ask about the specimens’ origins and avoid those culled from China’s waters as they’ve been responsible for hepatitis outbreaks.




Perhaps the best-known food on this list, delicate slivers of puffer fish (a.k.a. blowfish) can be served only by highly trained chefs because its internal organs—specifically its liver, intestines, and ovaries—have concentrated amounts of a paralytic compound called tetrodotoxin, which can prove fatal for humans if ingested. The more daring preparations contain just a smidge of the potentially lethal substance, which is 1,200 more toxic than cyanide, to give diners a tingly sensation as they eat it.

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