Allentown
57° F
Clear
Clear

Life Lessons: Most dangerous foods

By Nancy Werteen, Anchor / Reporter, NWerteen@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 12 2013 04:00:00 AM CDT

Life lessons dangerous foods

The average American consumes almost 2,000 pounds of food per year. We can't survive without it, but sometimes food can be hazardous, even lethal.

We're talking about food poisoning and if you've ever had it, you know you don't want it.

Studies show there are some foods more dangerous than others that you may want to leave off your plate.

First up: blowfish, a Japanese delicacy you can get at fine sushi restaurants. its toxins are 1,200 times more potent than cyanide. A single fish has enough poison to kill 30 people.

The danger? Preparing it.

Pamela Legowski, dietary manager of the Translational Research Institute at Florida Hospital says it has to be handled carefully. "Once you slice into it, that toxin is on the knife, and it is very deadly."

Another food hazard: wild mushrooms. The death cap contains several toxins. This past December, four elderly people in California died after eating this lethal food.

Rhubarb leaves have high concentrations of oxalate, which causes poisoning in large doses.

Ever wonder why we're told to keep potatoes in the dark? If they turn green, they may have higher levels of solanine, a harmful compound.

Legowski says don't take any risks. "So if you cut into your potato, and you see green, throw it out."

Hotdogs also made our list, but it's because of the choking risk.

Tara Gidus, a registered dietician with Dietdiva.net warns parents about giving hot dogs to kids. "So if you want hot dogs for younger children, just make sure you're cutting it vertically and then cutting it into smaller pieces," she says.

The last on our list: fruit seeds from cherries, apples, plums, almonds, and peaches can release hydrogen cyanide gas during ingestion. So don't overdo it.

A couple of runner-ups that almost made our list: raw meat and shellfish.

Experts say your steak should never be red, but can be slightly pink, and the only way to know for sure if it's thoroughly cooked is with a food thermometer.

Also, shellfish can be problematic -- even life-threatening -- for people who are allergic to it.