In lieu of Castle View School’s decision to ban any flapjack in a triangle shape after a student was hit in the face with one, there arises an important question: what other foodstuffs should we be deathly afraid of? Even now that flapjacks will only be served in square or rectangular form, we still need to face the threat of…
6. Hot Dogs
The perennial phallic treat sold at sporting events the world over, hot dogs get a bad rep for being sold out of vans that are as close to sanitary as Justin Bieber is to puberty.
Lack of hygiene isn’t what’s going to kill you here though. According to a study by the American Academy of Paediatrics, hot dogs account for 17% of food asphyxiations in children under 10. Perhaps the humble hot dog is a due for a redesign? It’ll severely limit the comedic potential for dick jokes of 13 year olds the world over, but that’s a risk we’ll have to take.
Though harmless in regular doses, tuna actually contains relatively high levels of poisonous element mercury. Just to be clear, you’d have to eat a lot of tuna on a very regular basis to be affected by this, but mercury has some very unfortunate side effects. It used to be used in the production of felt in the 18th and 19th century, which went into making hats. The ‘hatters’ would become mad after years of exposure to mercury, and that’s where the phrase ‘mad as a hatter’ comes from. So now you know. Goddamn tuna fish.
This one’s actually very tragic. Three years ago in a ketchup factory in Lucknow, India, a woman stirring a large vat of fermenting vegetables and additives (the basis for ketchup) fell in and drowned. Not only that, five co-workers who attempted to save her suffered the same fate, not realising the mixture of gases and intense heat would be fatal. So think of that next time you’re putting some on your chips. But also think of the people who put ketchup on everything, since that’s just weird. I mean, roast dinners? Really?!
Not bread! It’s so versatile! Bagels, toast, baguettes, ciabatta, naan, French toast. Giver of sandwiches, quencher of hunger, maker of forgettable 70s soft rock music.
Tell that to 1950s bread. 1950s bread was hardcore and made you hallucinate and think you were a plane. In Pont Saint Esprit, a small village in southern France, a batch of bread got poisoned in 1951 and infected the residents with terrifying consequences. Modern academics blame a substance called ergot (found in LSD) for the ill effects, which included making a man believe he was a plane to the point where he jumped out of a window and broke both legs.
The poisoning affected 250 people, seven of whom died and 50 of whom were interned in insane asylums.
According to Wikipedia, molasses is ‘a viscous by-product of the refining of sugercane, grapes or sugar beets into sugar’. It’s brown and sludgy looking. Got it? Right. Now imagine an unstoppable tide of it flowing towards you.
That was the dilemma faced by residents of Boston, Massachusetts in January 1919, when a 50ft tank of molasses ruptured and the contents exploded into the streets, travelling at speeds of 35mph and sweeping away anything in its path.
The tide killed 21 people, and injured a further 150. Good thing we don’t eat molasses over here, right? Oh, but we do drink beer, and a beer flood killed seven people back in 1814.
A Japanese delicacy made from blowfish (or trying to swear with a numb mouth). The intestines, ovaries and lungs of the fish contain a poison that is 1200 times deadlier than cyanide. A single fish contains enough poison to kill 30 people, so eating it could probably be considered a bit of a lottery.
However, despite this being the culinary equivalent of going for a jog in a minefield, that doesn’t stop the Japanese from consuming 10,000 tons of fugu a year.