WATCH: The 5 poisonous foods that can potentially kill you if not prepared properly

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Apr 1, 2021

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It can be easy to take for granted that foods we are accustomed to cooking with (especially healthy ones) are safe, but it turns out that’s not always true.

As we all know, the importance of food preparation is crucial. Rinsing off fruits and vegetables is a common practice to clean off pesticides, and cooking raw meat thoroughly is hugely important.

But what about when food preparation is a matter of life and death? At this point, you must be asking yourself what are some of the foods that can turn deadly if not prepared just right?

According to James Guttridge of Oh My Mag, below are some of the foods that can be quite dangerous.


Peanuts can usually be found as a bar snack, or they can be used for cooking international dishes such as pad thai or chicken in Satay sauce. However, many people are sensitive to them. 1% of the population is allergic to groundnuts, of which the peanut is the seed. Allergic reactions such as swelling of the lips and throat or nausea cause many deaths every year. It is important to read the ingredients of any food you eat. The presence of peanuts is always indicated.


It is only wild mushrooms that could be poisonous. Cultivated mushrooms, which are found on the shelves of supermarkets every day of the year, are 100% safe to eat and never poisonous.

Wild mushrooms are mostly picked by people who do not know them. These mushrooms bear no resemblance to cultivated mushrooms that are commercially grown.

Wild mushrooms sprout spontaneously in nature and are not commercially cultivated and controlled.

Although there are edible wild mushrooms it is crucial to know that you cannot embark on wild mushroom picking - whether in a veld or a garden - without extensive knowledge of poisonous wild mushrooms (toxic wild mushrooms).

Poisonous wild mushrooms are common, they're dangerous, and what makes identifying them even more complicated is that some poisonous mushrooms resemble popular species of edible wild mushrooms.


This Latin American or African tuber is nutritionally rich, and it is very easy to digest as it is rich in fibre as well. It is ideal for fighting constipation or diarrhoea. It is also an excellent natural appetite suppressant. It can’t be eaten raw because of cyanide which occurs naturally in the tuber.


Delicious in a pie, crumble, or jam, rhubarb is a very popular fruit in the kitchen. However, it is important to bear in mind that only the stems are edible. Rhubarb leaves contain large quantities of oxalic acid. They can cause infections and even coma in the most serious cases. The leaves should not be eaten. However, you can use them for decoration or compost, especially if you have calcareous soil. They are also very effective in keeping insects away, especially aphids.


Elderberries have become increasingly popular in recent years. They can be found in some drink and dessert recipes, providing a sweet and flowery flavour and adding a touch of originality. But beware, elderberries can be toxic if eaten raw and cause vomiting and diarrhoea. When cooked, the toxic substance disappears.

The article has been updated with comments from the South African Mushroom Farmers Association.

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