Humans have inhabited the planet for quite a few centuries and in that time, they’ve mostly figured out what’s healthy, what’s not and what you should stay away from. Many people got sick testing out new foods, but there are some of us who don’t seem to mind taking chances with the things we put in our mouths. Despite knowing that there are people who have died after trying such “delicacies”, that hasn’t stopped the rest of the world from staying away, if anything, it has made the foods more appealing. Here’s a list of some of the most dangerous foods that are available for consumption.
1. Blood Clams
There’s always a risk when filter feeders like clams, krill and some whales are eaten, but that danger increases exponentially when a person eats blood clams. Native to waters of Southeast Asia, blood clams are so named because of the large amounts of hemoglobin in their blood. The problem with eating these is that the clams filter at least 10 gallons of bacteria and virus-filled water every day. The bacteria and viruses are not always filtered out so any person who ingests them risks exposure to dysentery, typhoid, Hepatitis A and E and norovirus. The risk of infection with eating blood clams is 15% and they’re banned in some parts of the world.
Mainstream media like SpongeBob SquarePants and Finding Nemo has taught us that pufferfish are fun creatures that “blow up” from time to time. Food history on the other hand, tells a different story. Pufferfish contain tetrodotoxin, a very powerful and potent neurotoxin that when ingested causes numbness, headaches, and vomiting. In severe cases, it can cause muscle paralysis, cardiac arrhythmias, and death in as little as 20 minutes. The worst part is that the person remains conscious throughout the entire ordeal. The toxin is 200 times deadlier than cyanide and in places like Japan, a chef must have a license (that takes at least 3 years) to prepare it.
3. Kaester Hákarl
The thought or sound of eating fermented shark does not appeal to the masses but the delicacy is a staple in many Icelandic households. Kaester Hákarl or Hákarl for short, is made from the meat and skin of a Greenland shark which doesn’t sound that bad. The problem is that this species of shark does not have kidneys or a urinary tract, so its waste is filtered out through its skin, making it poisonous. In order to ensure that it is safe to ingest it has to be hang-dried and fermented for no less than six months. People who have tried it have described it as “the single worst terrible tasting thing” they’ve eaten.
Ackee, the national fruit of Jamaica, is extremely difficult to find, not only because it has to be imported, but also because it contains a poison known as hypoglycin. Although the fruit can be eaten, ingesting it before it is ripe can cause a phenomenon known as Jamaican Vomiting Sickness – rapid onset vomiting that if becomes frequent, could lead to death. It could also cause convulsions, delirium, hepatitis, and shock. The seeds are extremely toxic, and it is advised that the fruit is only eaten after it has opened. In 2001, 50 people died from Ackee fruit intoxication.
5. Live Octopus
Many people would decline the offer to have live octopus, but there are some people who would jump at the opportunity to try it. The dish, known as San-naki is a Korean delicacy, that is basically a baby octopus that was recently slayed. Despite being dead, the octopus’ tentacles continue to move and when sesame oil is added, it violently twitches, giving it the illusion of being alive. Although octopi can be eaten raw, the danger with eating these baby octopi is that the suction cups on their tentacles still work. When swallowed, the octopus feels like it is trying to work its way back up. There is also a danger that it will block the airways. It is estimated that six people die from attempting to eat them every year.
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