Everyday we chow down on Food Produced from Plants that carry Deadly Poisons.
Most of the time we do not need to be concerned with this as the mass production of Fruit and Vegetables ensures that we are usually Safe.
But from time to time people accidentally kill themselves by unwittingly eating the Wrong Part of a Plant.
In order to ensure that this never happens to you, here is a list of The Most Commonly Seen Poisons that we come in to contact with in our kitchens.
10. Cassava (Yuca)
Though not too widely used in the United States, Cassava is a Woody Shrub that is generally found in the Caribbean and South America. When using Cassava, it can either be made to be Sweet or Bitter. The taste, as well as the smell, all depends on the amount of Cyanogenic Glucosides, which are in fact, extremely Poisonous. Most who prepare it like it to be Bitter, as it keeps away Insects and even Animals. If cassava is prepared incorrectly, it can be deadly. Cassava poisoning, due to high levels of Cyanide, is known as Konzo. Cassava poisoning leads to irreversible paralysis.
Interesting fact : Cassava roots are ground into a flour-like substance which is then used to make tapioca. Cassava leaves contain Cyanide but if pounded into a paste with flour and left in the shade for 5 hours, the Cyanide is broken down.
Pufferfish stand to be the Second Most Poisonous Vertebrate in the World. Though you wont find Pufferfish in the U.S., many in Korea as well as Japan find some parts of the Fish to be delicacies. However, certain organs of the Fish, such as the liver, as extremely toxic and can be deadly. The Poison in the fish, known as Tetrodotoxin, can cause Numbness, High Blood Pressure and Muscle Paralysis, which is what leads to death as the diaphragm muscles become Paralyzed, Disabling Breathing. Known as Fugu when eaten as a meal, many in Asian countries refuse to not eat the fish.
Interesting fact : Pufferfish has been made illegal to be eaten by the Emperor of Japan.
There are about 5000 types of Mushrooms known in the U.S. and about 100 of them are said to be Toxic, while less than a dozen are Deadly. In any case, Mushrooms can cause Gastrointestinal Discomfort. Since Mushrooms are Fungi and the fact that there are so many Species, it can be hard to know which are Poisonous. As rule of thumb, it is usually said that any Mushroom found in the wild are more than likely Poisonous. One of the deadliest types of Mushroom Toxins is Alpha-Amanitin, which causes Extreme Liver Damage. Toadstools, as they are called, are the Poisonous Mushrooms.
Interesting fact : There are 38,000 known kinds of Mushrooms, about 5% of these are Toxic.