The 10 Most Dangerous Foods In The World

Vikas Shukla wrote . . . . . . . . .

It’s no secret that hot dogs are one of the biggest choking hazards in the United States and many other countries. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, they are the biggest cause of choking injuries in children. But many other food items out there are far more dangerous than hot dogs. They could make you sick or even kill you if not prepared properly. Here we take a look at the top 10 most dangerous foods in the world. If you are a big foodie, eat them at your own risk.

Some of them are mouth-watering. But they could prove fatal if they are not prepared correctly.

Raw cashews

People who don’t have nut allergies don’t mind eating cashew nuts from the tree. But few people know that the raw cashews contain urushiol, which could be fatal if eaten in large quantities. The cashews you buy at stores are safe because they undergo heat treatment to remove toxins.

Cassava

Cassava is a popular delicacy in South America and Africa. The root vegetable is primarily cultivated in South America. It must be cooked correctly before being eaten. If you chew it raw or cook it incorrectly, cassava releases a harmful enzyme called linamarase that turns a compound in the root into hydrogen cyanide. The sweet variety of cassava is not as deadly as the bitter one, but it still contains 20mg of cyanide per root.

Blood clams

Blood clams are harvested in the Chinese waters, the Atlantic, the Pacific Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico. These bivalves carry a number of diseases such as Hepatitis A, dysentery, and typhoid because they live in lower oxygen environments. Blood clams have even been responsible for massive hepatitis outbreaks.

Sannakji

If you are one of the adventurous foodies, you might want to try this Korean delicacy made with raw baby octopus. The octopus is chopped up and seasoned before it’s brought to the table. But their suction cups remain active with some gripping power. Unless you chew carefully and thoroughly, the suction cups could stick to your throat and suffocate you.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb is the primary ingredient in the rhubarb pie, but you should avoid leaves of this vegetable at all costs. Both raw and cooked leaves of Rhubarb contain a toxin called oxalic acid, which could cause kidney failure and even kill you. The symptoms include eye pain, trouble breathing, diarrhea, and red urine. An estimated 15-30 grams of oxalic acid is enough to kill an adult.

Elderberries

Elderberries are not cultivated in the United States, but their ripened flesh is used in jam and jelly that you buy from the grocery stores. Homeopathic experts use elderberries to treat various ailments such as the flu, cold, and skin wounds. But raw elderberries, their leaves, seeds, and twigs could be toxic. According to the CDC, they contain a toxin that causes cramps, nausea, vomiting, weakness, and even death.

Cherry seeds

Cherry seeds or pits contain a compound called amygdalin, which converts into the deadly hydrogen cyanide when you ingest them. Fortunately, an adult will do just fine even after consuming 703mg of hydrogen cyanide a day. Unless you are consuming hundreds of cherry seeds, you don’t have to worry much.

Casu Marzu

Casu marzu is a traditional Sardinian sheep milk cheese. It contains live insect larvae for extra fermentation. The larvae partially decompose the sheep milk cheese. Stay as far away from it as you can because the larvae can survive being ingested and cause trouble in your intestine. Thankfully, casu marzu is banned in the United States and European Union for hygienic reasons.

Ackee

Ackee is a Jamaican fruit. You should consider eating it only when it’s fully ripe and properly prepared. If you eat it when it’s still yellow (raw), you could suffer from hypoglycemia, vomiting, and even death. If you want to eat the yellow part, make sure it’s cooked properly. The fruit contains a toxin called Hypoglycin A, which makes it one of the most dangerous foods in the world.

Fugu (Pufferfish)

Fugu aka pufferfish is the most dangerous food in the world. Pufferfish is banned in the United States, and for good reasons. It’s 1,200 times more toxic than cyanide. It contains a concentrated amount of Tetrodotoxin, which is a neurotoxin. The delicacy could prove lethal if you don’t prepare it correctly – you have to carefully and completely remove the organs containing the toxin. It kills several dozen people in Japan every year. Even a tiny dose of the toxin stops the nerve conduction between the victim’s body and the brain by blocking sodium channels.

Source: ValueWalk

23 Spice Products Sold in Hong Kong Have Cancer-causing Substances

Hong Kong’s consumer watchdog has found 23 spice products sold in the city contained substances that could cause cancer, with the amount in two goods exceeding local regulatory limits.

The Consumer Council revealed on Tuesday that more than half of the 44 dried spices tested were found to have either aflatoxins (AFs), ochratoxin A (OTA) or both.

AFs and OTA are mycotoxins produced by fungi, and carcinogenic, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

It urged manufacturers to improve their production to minimise the chances of mycotoxin contamination during the process and to preserve the finished products in good condition.

“It’s hard for consumers to tell which spices are problematic, so a quality check is very important,” the council’s chief executive Gilly Wong Fung-han said.

Among the 15 spices found to have AFs, the amount in two nutmeg products, often used to make western pastries such as pumpkin pies – went beyond the upper limit set by the Centre for Food Safety’s regulations of 15 micrograms per kilogram (mcg/kg).

The IARC said AFs were linked to liver cancer and may affect unborn babies.

Deep-fried vegetable chips could contain twice the amount of carcinogen in potato chips, Hong Kong consumer watchdog warns

Ground Nutmeg from McCormick, marked as from the United States, contained 17.7mcg/kg of AFs.

Of the 17.7 micrograms of AFs, 12.4 micrograms were B1-type AFs – the most toxic kind of such mycotoxins – which exceeded the European Union’s maximum limit of 5mcg/kg.

Another nutmeg product from Yuan Heng Spice Co was found to have 17.5 micrograms of AFs, of which 14.6 micrograms was the B1-type substance.

The council has asked the local food authorities to follow up.

The study found these and two other spice products exceeded the stricter cap of 10mcg/kg set by the European Union.

An agency representing McCormick argued the council’s findings were abnormal, saying another test report by an independent laboratory suggested the product had less than five micrograms of B1-type AFs per 100kg. It said a small sample might produce unreliable results and that safety was its first priority.

Yuan Heng Spice Co’s agency representative said its investigation suggested there had been problems when stocking the products and the company had recalled and destroyed the batch of goods in question.

Nora Tam Fung-yee, from the council’s research and testing committee, insisted the test was conducted in accordance with international standards but admitted results from different batches might vary.

But Wong said no matter whether the manufacturers agreed with the results or not, they were responsible for finding out the cause of the problem and to check whether the products were safe to sell.

Meanwhile, the council’s tests also found 18 out of 44 samples contained OTA, which could cause cancer. They included capsicum spp. spices and turmeric which are essential for making curry, as well as nutmeg products.

The council noted there was currently no regulatory oversight on the maximum concentration of OTA in spice products.

Wong said the European Union had such regulations and another international body also had a recommended upper limit, so Hong Kong should keep up with the times and the test results warranted attention.

“But we want to bring a little bit of comfort to consumers. In Hong Kong food culture, the application of spices is not in high quantity. Unlike other Asian countries which consume curry more and use it more frequently. So relatively, the seriousness is not that high,” she said.

The council urged consumers to inspect the product packaging with care and check whether the spice was mouldy or had an unusual appearance.

It added once opened, the spice should be tightly closed and stored in a cool dry place.

Source: SCMP

Frankfurters Cut the Wrong Way Can be Choking Hazard for Kids

Amy Haneline wrote . . . . . . . . .

Summer is already filled with enough hazards to stress out parents — we’re looking at you, open water and fireworks.

But what about your kids’ plates?

Summer is peak hotdog season. Considering 150 million franks are consumed on the Fourth of July in the United States alone, there is a strong chance they will be on the menu many a weekend.

So, now is a good time for a reminder that hotdogs can be serious choking hazards, said Dr. Tanya Altmann, author of Baby & Toddler Basics.

The size, shape and texture of hotdogs make them especially dangerous for young children, so the pediatrician is here to explain everything parents should know before handing a kid a dog.

“Hotdogs are long and round and when (young children) bite off a piece of it, it really looks kind of like a thick quarter and that is the perfect size to get lodged into a child’s throat,” Altmann said.

Any food that is “large, round and solid” can be a potential choking hazard, Altmann said.

That’s why hotdogs often rank at the top of lists of foods to avoid giving young children. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) notes that hotdogs should be kept away from children younger than four years old.

Other potentially dangerous foods include whole grapes, hard or sticky candy, chunks of meat or cheese and popcorn.

Choking incidents among kids

In a 2013 study of choking incidents among young children, the AAP reported “choking is a leading cause of injury among children, and can sometimes be fatal.”

Researchers investigated non-fatal food-choking-related emergencydepartment visits among children ages zero to 14 years from 2001 to 2009. On average, 12,400 children (or 34 per day) were treated for a choking incident.

Hard candy caused most choking episodes (15 per cent), followed by other candy (13 per cent), meat other than hotdogs (12 per cent) and bones (12 per cent). Hotdogs accounted for 2.6 per cent of the cases.

At what age can a child eat a hotdog?

Parents can start introducing solid foods (except raw honey, which can harbour bacteria that causes foodborne illness in infants) to babies around six months of age, Altmann said. Parents should consider both the nutritional value and safety of a food when choosing their baby’s diet.

“If you wanted to mash up a hotdog into puréed or bite-sized pieces, theoretically you could feed it to an older infant or toddler, but I would argue it may not be nutritionally the best choice,” she said.

Cut hotdogs lengthwise first

All foods for babies and young children should be cut into one-centimetre or smaller pieces, the AAP recommends. However, cylindrical-shaped foods require extra care.

Thus, hotdogs should be cut lengthwise into strips first and then cut again into smaller pieces. The same goes for other common choking hazards such as grapes, cherries and cherry tomatoes.

For older kids who want to eat a hotdog while holding it, Altmann says parents could still cut the dog in half longways to help reduce choking risk.

When can parents stop cutting hotdogs for kids?

Usually around age four is when the choking risk is reduced because children are a little more aware, their throats are a little bit bigger and they are able to handle things that need to be chewed a little more before they swallow them, Altmann said.

What to do in a choking situation

“Make sure the child is really choking,” Altmann said. If a child is coughing or talking, there’s a chance the child can push the food out on his or her own.

But look for the following signs of a choking child: being unable to breathe; gasping or wheezing; unable to talk; turning blue; grasping at their throat; waving their arms; appearing panicked; and going limp or unconscious.

If a child is choking, call 911 and start a rescue procedure such as back-blows for infants or the Heimlich manoeuvre for older kids.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

Compostable Food Containers Could Release PFAS into Environment

Compostable food containers seem like a great idea: They degrade into nutrient-rich organic matter, reducing waste and the need for chemical fertilizers. But much of this packaging relies on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to repel water and oil. Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology Letters have shown that PFAS can leach from the containers into compost. However, the potential health effects of applying this material to crops are unknown.

PFAS are widely used in manufacturing because of their flame-retardant and water- and oil-repellent properties. Two long-chain PFAS, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), have been linked to negative health effects, so companies in the U.S. have voluntarily phased out their production. As a result, many manufacturers have switched to shorter-chain PFAS, whose health effects are less well known. Previous research has shown that PFAS in biosolids applied as fertilizer can migrate from soil to plants and then accumulate in humans through the food chain. Because compostable food packaging is becoming increasingly popular, Linda Lee and colleagues wanted to find out how much PFAS end up in the composted material.

The researchers obtained 10 samples from five states: nine from commercial facilities and one from a backyard compost bin. The researchers extracted perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs), which are compounds produced by microbial degradation of PFAS during composting, and analyzed them using mass spectrometry. The samples from seven facilities that accepted compostable food packaging had higher total levels of PFAAs than the two that didn’t or the one from the backyard bin, which did not contain food packaging. The researchers found PFAAs corresponding to PFOA and PFOS, which are still produced in some countries, in all of the samples, but most of the detected compounds were short-chain PFAAs. The results from this study contributed to the passage in 2018 of the State of Washington’s Healthy Food Packaging Act, which will ban the use of PFAS in paper food packaging after January 1, 2022, the researchers say.

Source : American Chemical Society


Today’s Comic

Is Raw Seafood Safe To Eat?

Jackie Newgent wrote . . . . . . . . .

People have been eating raw seafood from the beginning of time. But does that mean we should be doing so now?

To reduce the risk of foodborne illness, it is recommended that foods be cooked to their appropriate internal temperature. For most healthy people who choose to eat raw or undercooked seafood, it may only pose a small health risk but for others the risk can be severe. Foodborne illness can result in severe vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain, among other symptoms.

Major types of food poisoning that can result from eating raw or undercooked fish and shellfish include Salmonella and Vibrio vulnificus. For raw shellfish connoisseurs, especially raw oyster lovers, you specifically need to know about the risk for Vibrio infections. Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium that lives in warm seawater. While not as common as some other foodborne illnesses, 1,252 people were infected with Vibrio in 2014, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To reduce your risk of any type of food poisoning, know that neither hot sauce nor alcohol kills bacteria, despite popular myth. The best rule of thumb is to follow good food safety practices and properly cook all seafood. Prepare fin fish until it reaches 145°F — or until the flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork; prepare shellfish until the flesh is opaque; or, for clams, oysters, and mussels, until the shells open.

One other safety tip of interest: If you do decide to eat raw fish, choose fish that has been previously frozen. That’s because freezing will kill any potential parasites present. Unfortunately, freezing doesn’t kill every harmful organism.

High-Risk Individuals

For people at higher risk for foodborne illness, severe and life-threatening illness may result from consuming raw or undercooked fish and shellfish. These individuals include those with compromised immune systems, as well as pregnant women, infants, young children and older adults. Raw fish and shellfish consumption is never advised for high-risk individuals. If you’re in this category, thoroughly cook fish and shellfish. If you’re unsure if you are at risk, consult with your physician or registered dietitian nutritionist.

Keeping it Safe from Market to Mealtime

Follow these key tips when buying, storing and preparing fresh, raw seafood.

At the market:

  • Be sure fresh seafood is properly refrigerated below 40°F or well-packed with ice.
  • Look for fish with shiny, firm flesh and no overly “fishy” odor.

In your fridge:

  • Keep fresh fish well wrapped or in air-tight containers for no more than two days on the bottom shelf.
  • Store fresh or smoked seafood below 40°F; store live clams, crabs, crayfish, lobsters, mussels and oysters in well ventilated containers.

During preparation:

  • Keep raw and cooked seafood separate, including using separate cutting boards and utensils.
  • Wash hands, cutting boards, plates and utensils thoroughly between handling raw seafood and any ready-to-eat food.

Dining Out Advice

There are a plethora of well-liked raw and undercooked fish and shellfish items on menus today. For healthy individuals who choose to consume these foods, make sure they’re from reputable restaurants or markets that use fresh, high-quality ingredients and follow proper food safety practices. But be aware of these menu items, especially if you’re in the high-risk category, since they contain raw or undercooked seafood: sushi, sashimi, raw oysters or clams on the half shell, ceviche, crudo, gravlax, poke, tuna tartare and tuna carpaccio.

The Bottom Line

Properly cooked fish and shellfish offer a variety of nutrients that benefit our health. However, there’s an increased risk with raw fish and shellfish. Be aware of food safety considerations when eating it. And if you’re a high-risk individual, simply do not eat raw seafood.

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics