Poisonous Food We Actually Eat

A nice list of common foods that are actually poisonous.Sort of.

1. Mushrooms

Most mushrooms are in fact toadstools, or poisonous mushrooms.It is hard to determine if a mushroom is poisonous or not, as it is not consistent with all,but the best signs of not being deadly are : flat cap (no bumps),  black or pink gills ( never white) ( which should stay intact if you pull it off (not stalk) right.) but these don’t work for every mushroom. Be extraordinarily careful when determining a wild mushroom’s edibility.

2. Lagocephalus

Lagocephalus, also called the puffer fish, Is very poisonous (it is filled with tetrodotoxin. Tetrodotoxin is a very potent neurotoxin and shuts down electrical signaling in nerves by binding to the pores of sodium channel proteins in nerve cell membranes. There is currently no antidote.) and can only be eaten through a specially trained chef( called the “fugu chef” in japan) chopping and cooking its liver a certain way.

3. Elderberry

The elderberry flowers are just fine, but the other parts can be deadly. The roots and other parts can be highly toxic, and cause severe stomach problems( they have stuff in them that can change into cyanide, another deadly toxin).  As long as you eat only the flowers, you’re safe.

4. Castor beans

While most Castor oil used for candy is safely prepared, normal Castor beans ( mostly the seeds) are very poisonous. They contain the poison Ricin, which is very deadly. One bean can will kill a person, four will kill a horse. People who collect these seeds ( as a job) have very strict guidelines for harvesting them.

5. Almonds

Almond seeds ( they aren’t nuts) are very delicious, and very useful. They are a wonderful cooking condiment, ingredient, and spice. There is just one problem, they are naturally full of a lot of cyanide (already mentioned in this list.) which can kill. Some countries have banned the sell of raw almonds. To get rid of the poison, they must be processed by heating to get rid of it. Don’t worry though, as any almonds you find in stores have been treated properly.

6. Cherries

Cherries, the wonderful fruit as useful and good as the almonds above, share a similar thing. Their poison. Actual cherries are completely harmless, it is the pit ( or pip) of the cherry which is dangerously poisonous. When the seeds of the cherry are even slightly injured, they produce prussic acid, which is in fact, Cyanide. Be very careful not to chew the puts of cherries while eating them.

7. Apples

Once more, apple seeds contain the deadly poison Cyanide, but in a much smaller amount. This seems to be a common characteristic with fruit seeds. Don’t worry though, as no single apple has enough seeds in it to kill you, but it is definitely possible to die from them ( no apple eating contests please). If you are still worried, no, accidentally eating a few seeds won’t kill you. ( you’d need about 9 seeds to actually harm you)

8. Rhubarb

Rhubarb’s leaves ( the stem is safe) contain a deadly poison called oxalate, which is actually in a lot of plant leaves. Rhubarb is quite underrated though, as it is delicious and the stem won’t harm you. Rhubarb is easily grown in gardens, so if you grow some make sure not to eat the leaves.


Now, tomatoes are not a poisonous fruit, but their leaves contain Glycoalkaloid, which isn’t actually deadly. It will, however,  give you a very bad stomach ache and make you very nervous. For those of you who use stems to enhance flavor, just take them out when they’re done and no problems.

10.Hot peppers

Now, even though a lot of people love hot stuff, the hot and spiciness comes from a little thing called capsaicin. Sure, a little bit of capsaicin makes a real nice , irritant taste, but it can seriously harm you. Seriously, this stuff is used in paint strippers. No worries though, as chili peppers are surprisingly high in  L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C).

These beans (raw) contain linamarin, a deadly cyanogenic glucoside (yes, cyanide). Cooked well, there is no problem. ( like anyone likes Lima beans anyways.) What is it with raw vegetables and cyanide? Thank you for reading my list, watch out for those pesky poisons in food.

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