Warning: Death by… dangerous food – The top five most deadly eats out there

By Jessica Wilson

Warning: MM present a round-up of the most dangerous food out there.

We are quite often told that some foods are unhealthy; that there’s too much sat fat in this and too many calories in that. In fact, bright red, orange and green warning labels now appear on pretty much everything we pick up from the supermarket shelves.

But we rarely consider foods as dangerous. In fact, something called ‘death by chocolate’ sounds all the more enticing.

We’ve compiled a list of the rare foods which could cause you serious harm.

Let the countdown begin…


Fugu, a highly regarded Japanese delicacy, is one of the most deadly foods on the planet. Found in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, this toxic fish is responsible for around 100 deaths per year. Chefs who prepare the fish for restaurant consumption have to undergo years of specialist training, and even after that they can still get it wrong.

We hear the liver is the tastiest part, but this is also where the highest level of toxins are found. Ingesting the smallest trace of this poison tends to result in instant death through paralysis and asphyxiation. Nice.

We find it slightly concerning then, that some of the best Fugu chefs intentionally keep some of the poison in the liver, leaving diners with a strong tingle in their lips and an overwhelming sense of anxious invincibility.

Eating Fugu is a bit of a gastronomic gamble really. Luckily, the delicacy is banned in the EU, so you’re not likely to come across it unsuspectingly. 

We’re just warning you to take caution if you’re in the mood for sashimi when in Japan or the States.

And if you find yourself fishing in the north-western waters of the Pacific Ocean and you’re unsure about what you might have caught, if it looks like a cross between a fish and pig it’s probably best to throw it back. In terms of appearance, Fugu’s got nothing on The Rainbow Fish.  

Casu Marzu

Maggot-filled cheese, need we go further?

Casu Marzu is a Sardinian cheese made from sheep’s milk, and though it probably won’t cause instant death like a mouthful of Fugu liver might, it’s still not the safest of foods.

The cheese is deliberately pushed past fermentation and into a state of rotting by cheese-makers who introduce the larvae of the cheese fly to help break down fats and make the texture of the cheese softer. These little white worms then remain within the cheese until it reaches an eager cheese-lover’s mouth (although some people do remove the maggots before they tuck in). Enthusiasts say that the cheese is edible if the maggots are moving, but if they are dead then the advice is to leave well alone.

Alarmingly, when the worms are disturbed they shoot themselves into the air, reaching distances of up to 15cm, and eye protection is recommended. It’s a pretty difficult food to eat in general, even if you’re not squeamish.

Along with the risk of being blinded by an angry maggot, eating the cheese can lead to internal larval infection. That’s right, once eaten the maggots can pass through your stomach alive, nibbling their way through your intestinal wall causing severe pain, diarrhoea and vomiting.

The EU banned the cheese as it doesn’t comply with their hygienic standards much to the disappointment of Casu Marzu lovers.  It’s illegal in Italy too, but it’s still produced secretly for the black market.

It’s all a bit too I’m-A-Celebrity-ish for us.


Not only is nutmeg lethal if it’s injected intravenously (not sure who discovered that or what they were thinking at the time), but it can also cause hallucinations if you consume too much.

Don’t worry, a sprinkling of nutmeg on your egg custards won’t leave you in the midst of a hallucinogenic nightmare. In order to feel the impact of the spice in this way, you’d have to eat a fair bit.

Overdosing on nutmeg leads to severe stomach ache, vomiting, dizziness and other poorlyness… it may also lead to death, so don’t be crazy.

The general recommendation is to never cook more than two whole nuts, and even that much is risky.

Just don’t do the cinnamon challenge with nutmeg. Or cinnamon for that matter.

Cashew nuts

Cashew nuts are deadly when eaten raw. And although supermarkets brand their cashew nuts as raw, they rarely are. So don’t panic if you’ve eaten some today!

It’s the shell which is the poisonous part. It contains a think toxic resin called urushiol which is can leave you with horrendous side effects.

In order to make cashew nuts safe, the nut’s shell and the toxic resin is removed by cooking it at high temperatures. This probably explains why they are so expensive.

But unless you work in a cashew nut factory and take sneaky snacks from the untreated cashew conveyor belt or you are in South America and fancy picking nuts fresh from the tree, then you’re probably safe.

Turkey Twizzlers

Excessively processed, fat-ridden, salt-laden children’s treats. Jamie campaigned to ban them from schools and he won. He didn’t want to feed them to his wee nippers and has potentially single-handedly saved a whole generation from getting diabetes.

Dangerous because legend has it that many a twizzler had never seen a turkey. They’re banned in the UK now, so no need to panic.

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