8 Common Foods (That Are Poisonous)

Categories: For Your Health

Photo illustrations by John Seaborn Gray
Earlier this week, Katharine Shilcutt took a look at 8 foods notable for containing trace amounts of radiation. She carefully pointed out that the radiation in those foods was so negligible, there's no real threat to you or me unless we were to ingest massive amounts of them. Well, that's not the way this article is going to work.

What we've got here are 8 foods that will almost certainly kill you and your entire family unless you keep reading and take the proper precautions. We've learned our lesson from the evening news, and are now relying on vague threats to scare you into staying tuned. Which common household foods could be used in a recipe... for murder? Does President Obama know about these foods, and does he callously serve them to his own family? Will any of them straight-up make your goddamned head explode?

The answers, after the jump.

1. Mushrooms
How much do you trust the guy who picks your mushrooms? What about the guy who puts them on your pizza? With one small mistake, they could easily switch out normal, edible mushrooms for poisonous ones with awesome names. Seriously, two of the deadliest mushrooms are the death cap and the destroying angel. We'll repeat that: destroying angel. Jesus Christ, that is so metal.

But poisonous mushrooms don't necessarily have to kill you, oh no. Some will simply cause you to hallucinate, sending your fevered brain deep into spasms of madness and terror. Up is down, night is day, and all is lost. Do certain popular Nintendo characters endorse the regular ingestion of hallucinogenic mushrooms? We can't say for certain without making ourselves vulnerable to a libel suit. But yes.

2. Castor Beans
Sure, we all remember Castor beans as the beans used to make Castor oil, the obnoxious, syrupy cough medicine so often shoveled down the throats of the Little Rascals by their heartless tyrant of a mother (or whoever that lady was, we haven't watched Our Gang in years). But little did you know Castor oil is commonly used in candies and chocolate, and unless it's prepared exactly right, it will kill you deader than those very Little Rascals. That's right: the Castor bean contains the deadly poison ricin, which is so toxic even the smallest amount could kill you several times over.

So deadly is ricin, it was used by the assassins known as "umbrella men," who clandestinely stabbed their quarry with an umbrella whose tip was designed to deliver a tiny pellet the size of a BB containing no more than a few grams of the terrifying poison. Of course, the umbrella men later reformed from their hitman ways and formed a successful musical act, but that doesn't mean ricin is any less dangerous. Think of that the next time you're making S'mores at the campsite: you could be baking a scrumptious, chocolatey treat... of death.

3. Almonds
"Oh God, not almonds! What about my Nut 'n' Honey? My Almond Joy? My mixed nuts assortment?" You might as well be eating a big bowl of scorpions, you poor bastard. Raw almonds, sometimes called bitter almonds, contain cyanide, probably the most famous poison in the world, and responsible for the deaths of more Agatha Christie characters than old age. Oh sure, almond sellers claim the almonds are "processed" to remove the poison, but then why are bitter almonds illegal to sell in some countries, including New Zealand? Even the powerful magic of all the elves in Rivendell can't cleanse the filthy, diseased almond of its hateful death-juice.

Oh and guess what: It's not even a fucking nut. Neither are peanuts, cashews (also poisonous), pecans, macadamia "nuts," walnuts, pistachios, or pretty much every other food you've ever been told was a nut. That's right: you've never eaten a nut. They lied to you.

4. Chili Peppers
Capsaicin. It's a mightily abrasive chemical they put in pepper spray and paint stripper, and if you ingest too much of it, it will kill you. But why on earth would you ingest such a volatile chemical? Oh, that's a great question, maybe because it's in chili peppers? The hotter a chili pepper is, the more capsaicin it's got in it. Remember that the next time you and your idiot friends get into a hot-chili-pepper-eating contest. What you're really doing is holding a race... to an early grave.

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