While many health-conscious folks are into their raw and juice diets, others choose to incorporate uncooked foods without thinking twice. We’re down either way. Although chowing on any food that’s normally cooked will always pose some risk. Here are a few common (and some unusual) eats you’ll want to think twice about.
In Japan, chicken sashimi isn’t a big deal. So, why do Americans freak out over uncooked poultry? The issue has to do with how large quantities are farmed and butchered under less than ideal conditions. Because of this, reports of salmonella poisoning are higher domestically. Restaurants that source chickens from farms with organic, free-range and exceptionally sanitary practices when processing are a safer bet.
This PSL spice base shows no signs of danger, so long as it’s eaten in moderation. Taking in extreme quantities may end in myristicin poisoning, which can result in memory loss and visual distortions.
This fermented, Egyptian fish is fine to dine on. Of course, that’s assuming you dry it in the sun or ferment in salt for a whole year. Bad things (Botulism, anyone?) will come to those who don’t wait.
It looks harmless enough, right? Wrong! Ensure it’s ripe before consuming. And avoid the black seeds at all costs, unless you desire something called Jamaican vomiting sickness. Ew.
Many people still believe having steak that isn’t cooked to “no pink” status is dangerous. It’s one hell of a misconception. Tasty examples of raw cow include beef carpaccio and steak tartare. Like most things you pay good money for, leave it to a well-seasoned chef to prepare this. They’ll serve those dishes using higher quality meat.
Raw potatoes are about as exciting as gnawing on celery. But if you’re as desperate as Matt Damon in The Martian, go right ahead. Be sure to avoid any green ones, though. Glycoalkaloids found in these can cause diarrhea or put you in a coma.
Fugu (aka Puffer) Fish
If you’ve got an expert fish monger, you’re good to go. Just have them discard the liver and internal organs before they make you ill. Cyanide has nothing on fugu poison: it’s 1,200 times more deadly.
Normally pickled or baked into pies, this leafy plant contains a poison known as oxalic acid. This only becomes a concern, however, when had in large amounts. I don’t know anybody who goes crazy eating this vegetable, so don’t be the first.
A general guideline sushi purists have (besides never, ever ordering rolls) has to do with cleanliness. If they think for a second that an establishment is less than spotless, they won’t dine there. Same goes for the seafood. Busy sushi bars go through fish quicker, meaning fresher seafood in rotation. On a medical note, the Food and Drug Administration dictates that sushi grade fish be kept at freezing temperatures to ward off parasites.
As pretty as it sounds, you should probably only try starfruit if you have strong kidneys. Impaired kidneys can’t filter out neurotoxins, making starfruit and its oxalic acid bad news for weak systems. Side effects include vomiting, convulsions, and mental confusion.
This Harry Potter-esque item should be consumed fully ripened, minus the leaves, twigs, seeds and roots. Ingesting them too soon could mean cyanide poisoning.
I’d advise you to cover this raw Korean dish with extra sesame oil and chew like crazy. Remember: they’re served alive. If they fight back and attach themselves to your insides, you’ll choke! But man, would that make for a great story.