5 foods that could potentially kill you

Some varieties of cassava, for instance, can kill you if eaten raw.

In Summary

• A slight mistake could cost you your life.

•Observing food safety and hygiene is key.

A mother making food with her child.
A mother making food with her child.
Image: rosalynndaniels.

Chocking on food has been known to cause deaths, but none the more than food poisoning.

Food-borne illnesses can land you in hospital or lead to detrimental symptoms like brain and nerve damage, chronic arthritis, kidney and liver failure, and even death.

This is why observing food safety and hygiene is paramount since a slight mistake could cost you your life.


Ensure potatoes you want to prepare meals with are firm to the touch. Avoid wrinkled, smelly potatoes or those that have sprouts.

Rotting potatoes give off a noxious solanine gas that can make you unconscious if you inhaled excess amounts.

How you store your potatoes, therefore, really matters a lot. 

Exposure to too much light will make your potatoes appear green in colour and this is indicative of high glycoalkaloid and solanine content.

These are harmful chemicals that can cause stomach pain, headache and even paralysis of the central nervous system.

To be on the safe side, store your potatoes in a cool, dry and dark place.

Raw meat and uncooked eggs

Raw meat including red meat, poultry and seafood contain salmonella bacteria which can cause inflammation of the lining of the intestines in humans.

This poisoning can go into the bloodstream and cause serious infection which is life-threatening to people with weak immune systems.

Before you eat raw meat or raw eggs, think twice.

Raw Cassava

Cassava is packed with carbohydrates, vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin, and its leaves are edible if a person cooks or dries them in the sun.

Cassava is quite popular in western parts of Kenya but raw consumption of some varieties has been known to cause deaths. 

This is because raw cassava roots and leaves of some varieties contain high levels of cyanide, a toxic component when ingested by humans.

Other than death, consumption of some varieties of raw cassava can cause paralysis in children, low levels of iodine, increased risk of goitre, nerve damage.

To eliminate this risk, soaking and cook them. Alternatively, sundry and turn your cassava into flour for ugali, porridge, cassava fries, cake or bread.

Raw milk

Supermarket milk is pasteurized and therefore safe for human consumption.

But there are people who drink raw milk straight from the animal or milk that is not pre-boiled.

Drinking raw milk, especially by children, puts them at risk of bacterial infection from E.coli and salmonella.

Image: Courtesy: Pinterest

Chilli peppers

Eating raw chilli is not uncommon. Some add it to their favourite meals to improve taste while some have turned it into a dare-devil antic to earn social media views 

Consuming just one piece of raw chilli may not kill you, but pepper contains a chemical called capsaicin which makes them spicy.

A large dose of the chemical in the body causes tissue inflammation and may damage the mucus lining of the stomach or intestines.

This can also lead to heartburn and difficulty in breathing as your lungs constrict leading to death.

Kidney beans

Lectins, a chemical found in raw and undercooked beans are toxic. Just 4 or 5 kidney beans can trigger the symptoms of toxicity within an hour or two after consumption.

Lectins work by killing the cells in your stomach and may bind the walls of your digestive system leading to serious digestive problems like bloating, gas, fatigue or even death.

The advice is that you should soak them for several hours before cooking to remove the chemical.

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