10 dangerous foods

Published On: Feb 25 2013 10:13:28 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 26 2013 06:20:00 AM EST

The average American consumes almost 2,000 pounds of food per year. We can’t survive without it, but sometimes food can be hazardous, even lethal. We reveal our top ten most dangerous foods.

It might look good, and it might taste good, but the food you eat could be dangerous!

So what are the most dangerous foods? First up: blowfish, a Japanese delicacy you can get at fine sushi restaurants. Its toxins are 1,200 times more potent than cyanide. A single fish has enough poison to kill 30 people. The danger: preparing it.

“Once you slice into it, that toxin is on the knife, and it is very deadly,” explained Pamela Legowski, RD, the Dietary Manager of the Translational Research Institute at Florida Hospital.

Another food hazard: wild mushrooms. The death cap contains several toxins. This past December, four elderly people in California died after eating this lethal food. Raw oysters can contain the norovirus, which often spreads on ocean cruises.

“The best thing to do is to actually cook them and not eat them raw,” said Tara Gidus, RD, from dietdiva.net.

Rhubarb leaves have high concentrations of oxalate, which causes poisoning in large doses. Ever wonder why we’re told to keep potatoes in the dark? If they turn green they may have higher levels of solanine, a harmful compound.

“So if you cut into your potato, and you see green, throw it out,” Legowski advised

But it is ok to eat potatoes if they have little growths on them. Hotdogs also made our list, but it’s because of the choking risk. About 17% of all food-related choking deaths in kids are caused by hot dogs.

“So if you want hot dogs for younger children, just make sure you’re cutting it vertically and then cutting it into smaller pieces,” Gidus said.

Peanuts are one of the deadliest foods for those who have an allergy. From 1997 to 2002, incidents of peanut allergies doubled in children. Another risk: uncooked eggs can cause salmonella. Most of us know we shouldn’t when it comes to cookie or cake batter.

“What does everyone do? They lick the spoon. They try the batter!” said Legowski.

The good news? They’re harder to find, but if the eggs are pasteurized they’re safe to consume in the batter! Another danger: leafy greens. They’re often grown in farms that are close to chickens or cows. It’s the runoff that contaminates them. So, wash your greens!

“Even if they say triple washed, still wash them before you serve them,” advised Gidus.

The last on our list: fruit seeds from cherries, apples, plums, almonds, and peaches can release hydrogen cyanide gas during ingestion. So don’t overdo it.

Ten foods that could be a danger to you!

A couple of runner-ups that almost made our list: raw meat. Gidus says your steak should never be red, but can be slightly pink, and the only way to know for sure if it’s thoroughly cooked is with a food thermometer. If tapioca isn’t processed properly, it can be toxic. Also, shellfish can be problematic, even life-threatening, for people who are allergic to it.

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