Top 10 Most Dangerous Foods
A hot dog is dangerous? Actually, it could be deadly. Many of our favorite foods, some consumed since childhood and others discovered with an adult's gourmet palate, are so dangerous they should carry a warning label that says: Eat at your own risk. TIME magazine assembled a list of the worst offenders. The top 10 most dangerous foods:
- Hot Dogs -- About 17% of food-related asphyxiations in kids younger than ten are caused by hot dogs that get lodged in the throat, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Fugu -- Call this food roulette. Fugu, which is the intestines, ovaries and tliver of blowfish, is served sliced paper-thin. Only expert chefs with special training that can take up to three years are permitted to make it. Why? Fugu contains tetrodotoxin, a poison that is 1,200 times deadlier than cyanide.
- Ackee -- Known as the national fruit of Jamaica, ackee can cause what has been called Jamaican Vomiting Sickness, which can lead to coma and death. The unripe fruit contains a poison called hypoglycin; in addition, the black seeds that surround the ripened fruit are always toxic.
- Peanut Butter -- If you're part of the 1% of the U.S. population that is allergic to peanuts, this little nut can be deadly. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says it's the No. 1 cause of food-allergy deaths.
- Leafy Greens -- Spinach, lettuce, cabbage, arugula and kale taste good and are good for you, but the Center for Science in the Public Interest identified 363 separate outbreaks linked to these leafy greens in 2009 alone. Of these, 240 cases were from restaurants. Contaminants included the Norovirus, E. coli and salmonella.
- Rhubarb -- The rhubarb stalk tastes so good in pies that it's called "the pie plant," but beware! Ingesting a large amount of rhubarb leaves can cause poisoning. The Centers for Disease Control warns that the leaves should never be consumed--either raw or cooked.
- Tuna Fish -- Whether it's a tuna fish sandwich on whole wheat in a lunch box or seared fresh tuna drizzled with wasabi-butter sauce at a gourmet restaurant, this is a favorite fish worldwide. It's also riddled with mercury, which can damage the nervous system and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Cassava -- We know cassava as tapioca. This favorite pudding flavor comes from the roots of the bush-like cassava plant. If it's not properly prepared, cassava can produce a deadly compound: cyanide.
- Coffee -- Drinking coffee is just fine--as long as you don't spill it. If that hot liquid hits your lap, it hurts and can even result in third-degree burns.
- Mushrooms -- Beware mushrooms that grow in the wild! Many varieties are poisonous and potentially deadly, including those with these ominous-sounding names: Death Cap, Destroying Angels and Deadly Webcap.