18. RAW MILK
The milk we buy from the supermarket is pasteurized, but there are people who drink and make cheese from raw milk. Milk that hasn’t been pasteurized (heated to a high temperature and rapidly cooled down) is far more likely to contain salmonella, E. coli and listeria.
Elderberry jam (made from the berries) is delicious, but avoid the leaves, twigs and seeds as eating them can cause vomiting. Pick only ripe berries and avoid eating them raw.
16. BLOOD COCKLES
Even if you don’t have a shellfish allergy, blood clams are best avoided. The clams can harbor hepatitis A, typhoid and dysentery because they live in lower-oxygen environments. Blood clams from Chinese waters have been linked to hepatitis outbreaks.
Shellfish can be incredibly dangerous if you have an allergy. While some people experience hives, itching, swelling, wheezing, and abdominal pain, others can go into anaphylactic shock, which stops them from breathing and can be life-threatening without medication.
14. BEAN SPROUTS
Bean sprouts are one of the worst foods for harboring E. coli, salmonella, and listeria — bacteria which thrive in the same warm, humid conditions that sprouts are grown in. Bean sprouts grown in Germany were identified as the likely cause of an outbreak of E. coli that killed 22 people and sickened hundreds more in Europe in 2011.
Rhubarb stalks are great in a crumble, but avoid the leaves at all costs. They contain poisonous toxins which could make you very sick, or even kill you.
12. RAW CASHEWS
Even if you don’t have a nut allergy, never eat a cashew nut from the tree. Raw cashews contain a toxic substance that can be fatal, if eaten in large quantities. The raw cashews in supermarkets have been steamed to remove the dangerous chemical.
Peanuts are fine as long as you don’t have an allergy. Peanuts account for more food allergy deaths than any other food. Pretty scary when you consider it affects around one percent people.
For the same reason, tapioca (which is made from the root of the cassava plant) must be prepared properly to avoid poisoning.
Loved in Jamaica, ackee fruit must only be eaten when fully ripe and properly prepared. Eat too soon and toxins in the fruit can result in severe vomiting and can even lead to death.
Hákarl — shark meat that’s been buried to ferment in its own fluids then hung up to dry — is prized in Greenland. The problem is that the animal doesn’t have a urinary tract, which means potentially toxic substances are stored in its meat.
6. FUGU (PUFFERFISH)
Pufferfish, or “fugu,” is the world’s most dangerous delicacy. Chefs in Japan go through several years of training to learn how to remove the toxic parts of the fish, which are 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide. Eating just a tiny amount (a pin head) of the wrong bit can be lethal.
5. WILD MUSHROOMS
Some wild mushrooms look innocent, but are actually lethal, like the Death Cap (pictured). Take a bite and you’re likely to experience abdominal pain and vomiting. Eaten in large amounts, they can cause liver, kidney and heart damage, which may ultimately lead to death.
4. LIVE OCTOPUS
Most of us prefer our food to be dead when it reaches our plate, but not in Korea. There you can order live octopus, which is chopped up and seasoned while still alive. The danger is the suction cups, which are still active and can stick to your throat, potentially suffocating you.
Absinthe is a mixture of woodworm, sweet fennel and sweet anise. Woodworm contains a toxic chemical named thujone, which has psychoactive properties and result in addictive hallucinogen. The drink has been blamed for social disorders, suicides, tuberculosis and even epilepsy.
2. AFRICAN BULLFROG
Bullfrogs are usually considered a delicacy in certain African nations, where people eat the whole frog, not just the legs. However, they contain a range of toxic substances harmful to humans, especially young frogs who are yet to breed — they carry a toxin that can lead to kidney failure.
On Oct. 26, 2015, a World Health Organization (WHO) report revealed that eating processed meat can lead to bowel cancer, while red meats are probably carcinogenic. International Agency for Research on Cancer, WHO’s specialized cancer agency, has categorized processed meats like hot dog, sausage and bacon in the same group with tobacco, asbestos and diesel fumes, which are proven carcinogenic agents. Here are some other foods that have the potential to make you very sick or even kill you.