The Top 5 Deadliest Foods in the World

While we often focus on the fat or sugar content of our food, there are some foods that can be deadly if consumed. In this article, we will explore five of the world’s most poisonous foods and learn some interesting facts about each one.

It’s important to note that this is not an exhaustive or sequential list.


Fugu, also known as pufferfish, is considered one of the most poisonous foods on the planet. If it’s not prepared correctly, it can cause paralysis and asphyxiation due to a neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin found in the fish’s organs, especially the liver. In Japan, where it’s considered a delicacy, chefs undergo rigorous training to prepare it safely. Some fugu chefs even leave a small amount of tetrodotoxin to create a tingling sensation in the tongue. While it can be tempting to try fugu for the experience, it’s important to note that there are around 100 deaths per year due to consumption of incorrectly prepared fugu.

Giant Bullfrog

The Giant Namibian Bullfrog, also known as the giant Pyxie, is a delicacy in Namibia, particularly for the Ovambo people. However, young specimens contain a toxin called Oshiketakata that causes painful urination, kidney failure, and even death. These frogs can grow up to 10 inches long and are known to eat anything they can, including rats and other frogs. They have shovel-like heels that allow them to burrow into the ground.


Ackee is Jamaica’s national fruit, but it can be dangerous if not prepared correctly. Unripe ackee pods contain a poison called hypoglycin, which can cause Jamaican Vomiting Sickness and even death. However, when the fruit is fully ripened and the pods open naturally, the yellow arilli inside are safe to eat. The seeds are always toxic, regardless of ripeness. Jamaican Vomiting Sickness was first identified in 1904 and is caused by hypoglycin, which causes severe hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar levels. The fruit is named after Captain William Bligh, who brought it to England in 1793.

These are just three of the world’s most poisonous foods. It’s important to be aware of what we eat and how it’s prepared to avoid any potential health risks.

Initially, the mortality rate was as high as 80%, but later treatments were discovered to bring it down. From 1989-91, only six deaths were reported.

Casu Marzu

Casu Marzu is a type of soft cheese made from sheep’s milk in Sardinia. During its “ripening” process, the cheese is left uncovered for flies to lay their eggs inside it. The eggs are responsible for the fermentation, which leads to the formation of maggots inside the cheese. However, consuming the dead maggots can cause severe illness by damaging the intestinal walls. Eye protection is recommended while eating the cheese as the bugs can jump 6 inches upward when disturbed. The cheese is banned in Italy and across the EU, but it is sold on the Italian black market.


Cassava, a root vegetable also known as tapioca, is mainly grown in Africa and South America. It is used to make flour, stews, puddings, and juice. The roots and leaves of cassava are high in hydrogen cyanide, which can be deadly if not prepared properly. The WHO reports that 1 in every 5 people in Africa who suffer from cassava poisoning die. Cassava is also used to make biofuel ethanol as it has high levels of carbohydrates.

These are some of the most poisonous foods in the world, but there are many others that are dangerous and not poisonous. Even common foods like green potatoes and mushrooms can be poisonous to varying degrees. So, it is important to be cautious while trying new foods and to do proper research before consuming them.

Stay safe and always Google it!


1. What are the world’s most poisonous foods?

The world’s most poisonous foods include fugu, ackee, cassava, elderberries, and rhubarb leaves. These foods contain toxins that can cause serious health problems or even death if not prepared or consumed properly.

2. What is fugu and why is it dangerous?

Fugu is a Japanese delicacy made from the pufferfish. The fish contains tetrodotoxin, a potent neurotoxin that can cause paralysis and death if not prepared correctly. Only trained and licensed chefs are allowed to prepare fugu, and even then, it is still considered a risky dish to eat.

3. What is ackee and how can it be poisonous?

Ackee is a fruit commonly eaten in Jamaica. The fruit contains a toxin called hypoglycin, which can cause vomiting, seizures, and even death if the fruit is not ripe or prepared correctly. The fruit should only be eaten when it has naturally opened on the tree.

4. What is cassava and why is it dangerous?

Cassava is a root vegetable commonly eaten in Africa and South America. The vegetable contains cyanide, a potent toxin that can cause paralysis and death if not prepared correctly. Cassava must be peeled, soaked, and cooked thoroughly in order to remove the toxins before consumption.

5. What are elderberries and how can they be poisonous?

Elderberries are a type of fruit commonly used in jams and pies. The fruit contains a toxin called cyanogenic glycosides, which can cause nausea, vomiting, and even death if consumed in large quantities. The fruit should never be eaten raw and should only be consumed in small amounts.

6. What is rhubarb and why are its leaves poisonous?

Rhubarb is a vegetable commonly used in desserts. The leaves of the rhubarb plant contain high levels of oxalic acid, which can cause kidney failure and other health problems if consumed in large quantities. Only the stalks of the rhubarb plant should be consumed.

7. Can these foods be consumed safely if prepared correctly?

Yes, these foods can be consumed safely if prepared correctly. However, it is important to note that these foods are still considered risky and should only be prepared and consumed by trained professionals or under their supervision.

8. Are there any other dangerous foods that people should be aware of?

Yes, there are many other dangerous foods that people should be aware of, such as raw honey (which can contain botulism spores), castor beans (which contain ricin), and mushrooms (which can be poisonous if not identified correctly). It is important to always research and properly prepare any unfamiliar foods before consuming them.

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