Top 10 Foods That Can Literally Kill You

by WatchMojo about a year ago in fact or fiction

Foods that can literally kill you might surprise you, as we eat some of them every day!

You may not be still be alive after you devour these. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 foods that can kill you.

For this list, we’re looking at those edible foods that may be fatal if you eat or prepare them the wrong way. We’re excluding foods that many people are allergic to, such as peanuts and shellfish, because those are harmless to a majority of people.

#10: Taro

Likely first found in Southeast Asia, the thick stems, leaves, and leaf-stems of this plant are often used and eaten as vegetables. The taro is a root crop with light purple stems that are cooked in various ways, and can be used both in main meals and in desserts. However, when raw, you should stay far, far away from this plant. Why? It contains a toxic chemical compound called calcium oxalate, which, when consumed, can lead to kidney stones, and in extreme cases, death. So if you want to be safe, roast, boil, or bake it—but if you want to be even more prudent about it, try adding a bit of baking soda or drinking a glass of milk when you’ve got a taro craving to satisfy.

#9: Ghost Pepper

Are you one of those people that hates putting Tabasco sauce on food because it makes things too spicy? Multiply that flavor by exactly 401.5, and you have the intensity of the ghost pepper. Also known by names like bhut jolokia and ghost chili, this hybrid pepper is one of the world’s hottest foods, and it is definitely not advised that you eat too many of them. While consuming a few at a time is fine (albeit, a little rough on your mouth), eating too much at once can result in severe stomach issues, as well as seizures and heart attacks, which could obviously result in a painful death.

#8: Egg

As cool as Rocky Balboa makes it look, take our word for it and never eat raw eggs. Not only are they slimy and disgusting, but, like uncooked meat, eating raw eggs can result in salmonella poisoning, which is definitely not a fun experience. Furthermore, the consumption of uncooked eggs can result in severe diarrhea and vomiting, which can quickly lead to dehydration and death if such symptoms are not looked after. And if you have a weak immune system, then even more serious complications can occur. It’s just not a good idea, period.

#7: Ackee

Native to West Africa, the ackee is a fruit that is popular on the Caribbean islands, especially Jamaica. So if you’re ever on vacation, it’s probably better for you to stay clear of this seemingly tropical fruit. The inedible and un-ripened parts of an ackee contain the powerful and fatal toxins hypoglycin A and B, which, when consumed, can lead to very low glucose levels and hypoglycemia as well as what’s known as Jamaican vomiting sickness. In extreme cases, it can even cause seizures and death! The fruit is so dangerous that importing canned ackee was temporarily limited in America, so it’s likely that you may’ve never even seen or heard of it before.

#6: Sannakji

You might not recognize this by looking at it, but sannakji hoe is actually a popular snack in Korea. And what is it exactly, you ask? It’s live octopus. That’s right, this small underwater organism with 8 arms is STILL alive, as in still slithering around on the plate when it’s served. That means that when you consume sannakji, you are taking the risk of having the suction cups on its arms sticking to an esophagus on the way down, which can lead to choking and even death. Many reports have been made of people dying while eating Sannakji, which begs the question: why do they still serve it?

#5: Mushroom

There really are a wide variety of mushrooms. There’s the delicious, edible type that have been eaten for centuries, there’s the type that makes you see pretty colors, and then there’s the poisonous type that can painfully kill you if you consume them. Poisonous mushrooms can take a varying amount of time to take effect, but generally consumption leads to kidney, liver, or respiratory failure, depending on what kind of fungus you’ve eaten. Just be especially careful if you pick them in the wild, as some of them look quite similar to the edible ones. While stomach problems are the most common consequences of mushroom poisoning, death is not out of the question either.

#4: Elderberry

Growing in both the Northern Hemisphere as well as South America and Oceania, the sambucus may look delicious, but eating them can be extremely hazardous to your health. Various parts of the plant, such as the leaves and seeds, as well as the berries themselves contain cyanide-inducing glycoside. So, when eaten uncooked and ingested into the human body, these parts then produce—you guessed it—cyanide. Essentially, eating large amounts of raw elderberries is like swallowing a cyanide pill. Needless to say, it won’t turn out well for you.

#3: Pufferfish / Blowfish

One of the more famous examples of a deadly food, the blowfish is known worldwide for its toxicity and harmful effects. The organs of the blowfish, also known by names like the pufferfish, and fugu in Japan, are extremely poisonous because they contain a highly toxic neurotoxin called Tetrodotoxin. So if you eat those parts and are poisoned, this can quickly lead to paralysis—while you’re still conscious—and eventual death. That’s why it is actually illegal for the Emperor of Japan to consume it. Only chefs who have undergone years of training are allowed to prepare and serve the fish as a delicacy in restaurants, and we’re glad of that at least.

#2: Almond

Almonds are so potentially dangerous when consumed that the U.S. Department of Agriculture made it mandatory for the seeds of the almond tree to go through a special heat treatment and pasteurization as of 2007. This is done to avoid infection by salmonella. However, we should also explain that there are different types of almonds, such as the sweet and bitter kinds—and it’s the bitter ones that you need to be careful of. Why? They are much higher in cyanide that than the sweet ones (which barely have any)! Certain cultures used to use bitter almond extract medicinally, but even minuscule doses can prove fatal, especially in children. They are even illegal to sell or buy in New Zealand due to their potential danger. Fortunately, bitter almonds in general consumption are rarely found, since the sweet kinds are what’s sold in stores—it’s just that bitter almond contamination cases have also been reported on occasion.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

  • Nutmeg
  • Kidney Bean
  • Cherry
  • Apple
  • Rhubarb

#1: Potato

Everyone’s favorite side dish, especially when you’re having meat, potatoes are generally safe if eaten correctly and in time. But when they turn green, stay away. Potatoes produce a glycoalkaloid called solanine, and just as this natural poison deters predators, it also deters humans, as it is toxic. An average grown male would only have to consume roughly one pound of green potatoes to become fatally poisoned, although we’re not sure why anyone would want to consume green potatoes in the first place.

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