If you've ever had yuca frites, you know how sweet and appealing the starchy root (aka cassava or manioc) can be. Too bad it's laced with cyanide. No, these delicious frites won't put you in the hospital, but that's because cooking the root prior to consumption breaks down the cyanide and makes it safe to eat. You have to wonder who discovered that little tidbit in the first place, and how many people croaked eating yuca before he did.
What's spiny, slimy and 1200 times more potent than cyanide? Dinner! Fugu contains high amounts of tetrodotoxin, a poison that causes the victim to become paralyzed and suffer from dizziness, headache, breathing difficulty and other horrific side effects while awake and aware the whole time. After an hour or so of hell, some victims of fugu poisoning recover. The other 50-80% bite it.
No worries, though. Several countries have banned blowfish and Japan requires sellers to go through rigorous training before being allowed to serve the dish.
Anything eaten for a contest or on a dare
In 2007, a San Francisco woman famously OD'd on water while trying to win a radio contest. A year later, some poor English schmuck kicks it after downing a scalding chili for a bet with a buddy. I don't know about you, but bragging rights at the local pub or a Nintendo Wii aren't worth dying for. Trust us, if a pal dares you to eat fugu testicles or your co-workers invite you to a lunchtime pastry chokedown, they don't have your best interests at heart.
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SHOW ME HOW
Remember when you were a kid and complained that Granny's home-canned veggies were so nasty that you'd die from eating them? Turns out you could've been right. According to food technologist Al B. Wagner, Jr. of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, many foods can make you sick. But there's only one with a listed side effect of death.
When canned improperly, foods can contain Clostridium botulinum spores, resulting in blurry vision, respiratory problems and a possible dirt nap. So the next time your granola-crunchy hippie friend with the canning machine offers you a jar of miscellaneous home-canned organic crap, just say no.