Do You Know if This Is Safe to Eat?

By: Khadija Leon
Image: Claudia Totir/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

As the years pass by, health and food safety is becoming increasingly important. With the development of new foods and the rise in food allergies, it is imperative that the food being sold is as safe as it can possibly be.

Whether you buy your food in the supermarket, go to a farmer's market or grow it in your own backyard, many of the foods that we consume on a regular basis actually have quite a bit of risk associated with them.

These foods hide in plain sight but many of these risks include being a choking hazard, containing lead and there are those foods which contain toxins which can cause vomiting diarrhea, convulsions, brain and kidney damage and even death in some cases. There are even some foods which are hazardous because they purposely contain maggots and or insects which could lead to infection.

Have you ever stood in your kitchen and wondered if some of the foods that you eat are safe for consumption? Before they even get to your home, is there anything that needs to be done to make them safer? Well if you think that you know if they are, then you need to take this quiz to test your knowledge!

Rhubarb plants are known for their tart and crunchy stalks which are usually found in pies. The leaves, on the other hand, contain two potent toxins which cause a burning sensation in the mouth and throat, nausea and diarrhea and difficulty breathing and the development of kidney stones.

Bananas are an edible fruit which are known for their yellow color and elongated and curved shape. They come in a variety of cultivars, all of which are rich sources of vitamin B6, vitamin C, fiber, potassium and manganese. In some place, people also eat the banana peel.

Fugu is a type of dish which is prepared using pufferfish. It can be extremely poisonous as it contains a tetrodotoxin, a potent neurotoxin which blocks the sodium channels in cells. Within 30 minutes, it can cause symptoms ranging from sweating and headaches to convulsions, paralysis and respiratory distress.

Chia is an edible seed which comes from a mint plant which is native to Central America and parts of the United States. The healthy small seeds are typically used in energy bars and cereals, smoothies and yogurt, as well as tortillas and bread.

Avocado fruit is a large berry containing a single seed which is produced by the avocado plant. The fruit is quite safe to eat and contains vitamin K, C, E and several of the B vitamins. It also contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids.

There are many different types of potatoes, most of which are edible, but the green portion of the potatoes contain high levels of solanine, a glycoalkaloid which can put you into a coma if ingested in higher quantities. Death can occur, but, in most cases, it causes GI distress.

Sannakji is a raw dish made using the long arms of an octopus. The tentacles are cut off the octopus when they are still living, which causes them to move posthumously because they still have nerve activity. The food is a choking hazard because the suction cups maintain their gripping power which can attach in the throat.

Kale, sometimes called leaf cabbage, is a type of cabbage which is widely produced for its edible leaves. It can be eaten both raw and cooked, and it is known for having large amounts of vitamin K, A, C, B6, folate and manganese as well as antioxidants like kaempferol.

Ackee is a fruit which is native to some African and Caribbean countries. The unripe fruit contains two toxins which are both toxic to the body causing hypoglycemia and a condition known as Jamaican vomiting sickness. It has been banned in the United States, but it can be purchased in a can.

Ginger/ginger root is a flowering plant whose root is widely used as a spice or type of medicine. Not only is it safe to eat, it has anti-inflammatory effects, and it has also been shown to lower blood sugar and treat indigestion.

Sugar is a carbohydrate which is often used to sweeten food. While sugar is safe to eat, eating large quantities for long periods of time can increase your risk of developing a number of health conditions including type 2 diabetes, obesity, tooth decay and a number of cardiovascular diseases.

Cassava is a root vegetable which grows in tropical regions in South America, Africa, and the Caribbean. The leaves and roots of the cassava are extremely rich in cyanide, and people warn against eating it raw.

Sardines are small fish which belong to the herring family. They are very rich in vitamins and minerals including vitamin B2, B12, and D, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and selenium as well as omega-3 fatty acids and protein.

Similar to that of the bitter almonds, cherry seeds also contain high levels of cyanide. This toxin inhibits an enzyme in the electron transport chain (a process necessary for cells to produce energy in the form of ATP). This can lead to damage to organs like the brain and heart which need this process.

The only dangerous thing about tuna is the levels of mercury that it absorbs. Once the fish is eaten, it either passes through the kidneys or to the brain where it can accumulate and where it is said to drive you insane.

Hibiscus is a genus of flowering plants which are native to warm temperate regions of the world. In some parts of the world, the flower is used to make teas and juices, and the dried form is often candied and eaten or used as a garnish. It has also been said to lower blood pressure.

Raw milk (milk straight from the animal) is an extremely risky beverage to consume, especially for young children, as many diseases including E. coli, listeria and salmonella have been found in it. The milk sold in the grocery store is pasteurized and completely safe to consume.

Nutmeg is a spice which is commonly used as a topper, typically on holiday drinks like eggnog. Although nutmeg poisoning is rare, it is not impossible, as ingestion of about two tablespoons can cause dizziness, nausea and delayed brain functioning.

Blueberries are flowering plants known for their characteristic blue/purple color. They have a low caloric value and are rich in vitamin C, K, manganese and fiber. They have also been called the king of antioxidants, protecting against free radicals.

Carrots are root vegetables which are usually seen in an orange color but also come in red, white, black and purple cultivars. Carrots contain high quantities of alpha- and beta-carotene, vitamin B6 and vitamin K. They are also 88% water and a good source of fiber.

Pineapples are tropical plants made up of multiple berries which have coalesced, forming the fruit. They are a rich source of manganese and vitamin C, and they are completely safe to eat, although sore mouths or discomfort have been reported after eating them.

In the 1700s, tomatoes were given the nickname “the poison apple” because it was thought that they made people ill after eating them. Although they were wrong, the leaves and stems of tomatoes contain high levels of solanine, which can cause symptoms ranging from vomiting to hallucinations.

Although many types of mushrooms are eaten, not all of them were created equal. Mushrooms like the death cap (Amanita phalloides), conocybe filaris and the autumn skullcap, all contain a toxin called amatoxins which cause vomiting, bloody diarrhea and can lead to rapid loss of fluid from tissue.

Quinoa is a flowering plant whose seeds are consumed after the outer coat is removed. They originated in the Andean region of South America and comes in a variety of cultivars from red to black. Quinoa seeds are a rich source of protein, fiber, many B vitamins, folate, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Elderberries are commonly used in different medicinal remedies to treat a number of ailments as well as in wine, juice, jam, and syrup. The fruit is safe when cooked, but uncooked elderberry seeds contain cyanide, causing nausea and vomiting.

Casu marza, also called casu modda, is a traditional Sardinian sheep milk cheese which contains live insect larvae or maggots. The larvae are put into the cheese helping it to ferment and break down the cheese’s fats. It is possible for the larvae to survive in the intestine, causing pseudomyiasis.

Squash blossoms are edible flowers which produce the zucchini or courgette. In many countries, they are typically stuffed, battered and fried, made into soup and even used as a filling for fritters and quesadillas.

Raw red kidney beans have been found to contain high levels of a toxin called phytohaemagglutinin which triggers vomiting and diarrhea. It has been said that eating four to five beans can trigger the symptoms, but the toxin is destroyed once the beans are cooked, making them safe to eat.

Strawberries, sometimes referred to s garden strawberries, are a type of fruit known for its aroma and sweet juices. They are a good source of vitamin C, manganese, and other nutrients. It is said to have anti-cancer properties as well as decreasing cardiovascular disease risk.

The meat of the apple is completely safe to eat; in fact, doctors recommend eating one a day, but eating the seeds of this popular fruit can send you to the emergency room. They contain cyanide, which can cause GI distress.

Almonds come in two varieties; bitter and sweet. The bitter almonds contain a toxin known as cyanide 42 times the amount found in sweet ones, and just eating a handful of these almonds can be fatal, especially with small children.

Walnuts are a type of seed which is harvested for its nutmeat once ripe. They are rich in antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids and they also support good brain function. They have also been used in folk medicine and in inks and dye.

Bell peppers, sometimes called sweet peppers, are colored fruits which are native to Mexico, Central America and South America. They contain 94% water, and they are also a rich source of vitamin C and vitamin B6. They come in a variety of colors and can be eaten both raw and cooked.

Alfalfa sprouts are typically eaten raw or lightly boiled, and while there is nothing toxic about the plant, its minimal cooking process is not able to get rides of bacteria including e.coli, salmonella, and listeria. There have been over 30 outbreaks, some of which were deadly.

Lima beans, like many other beans, are safe to eat when cooked, but if they have not been, they have been known to cause gastrointestinal distress because of it contains cyanide, but not enough to cause death.

Coconut water is a clear liquid which is found inside of coconuts and serves as the endosperm of coconuts. The water has been used as an intravenous rehydration fluid in the absence of medical saline but not as often as before. It contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals, and it can be sipped straight from the coconut.

Salmon is the common name of a ray-finned fish belonging to the same family as trout, char and whitefish. It is intensively farmed for its meat as it is a rich source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D. It can be eaten both raw and cooked.

Eating one to two chili peppers may only cause profuse sweating but eating a handful can kill you. A fun fact about chili peppers is that an active ingredient called capsaicin is used to make pepper spray. This ingredient can cause gastrointestinal distress and airway constriction in rare cases.

Cashew nut shells contain a chemical compound known as Anacardium occidentale, an acid form of urushiol. This urushiol is known to cause allergic skin reaction when it comes into contact with the skin. It also causes upset stomach.

Raw honey or honey that has not been pasteurized are said to contain a type of neurotoxin known as grayanotoxins. Consumption of this can cause dizziness, nausea and vomiting. If eaten in high enough quantities, it can be fatal.

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