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Oct 12, 2009 05:42 PM

Are there foods you won't eat because you consider them too dangerous?

...either because of the mercury level, the threat of e coli or mad cow disease, mercury poisoning, or whatever other health hazard they may pose?

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  1. Fugu is one of those calculated risk foods that I have no interest in trying.

    I also passed on a restaurant in Xian, China that specializes in scorpion dishes. Roasted on a skewer with soy sauce is one thing, but chasing it around with chopsticks in a little wooden box and then biting into it without getting stung is just too stupid for words.

    Raw fruits and vegetables in China and Mexico should be regarded with great caution.


    9 Replies
    1. re: Chefpaulo

      I have no intention of eating wild fugu, as with you it's a calculated risk that doesn't seem at all worth it to me, but I'm quite curious about farmed fugu, which is raised in an environment without the toxin-producing bacteria and is thus safe to eat.

      1. re: Chefpaulo

        I've only had fugu once and it wasn't anything special. It's very similar to fluke. I don't think you're missing much at all.

        1. re: Miss Needle

          I've dined on fugu many times. There are many fugu restaurants in Japan. The notion that eating it is a "calculated" risk by some people is amusing, but it certainly makes for an entertaining NPR story or Simpson's episode.

          1. re: Miss Needle

            I've tried fugu once and agree with Miss Needle that it wasn't anything exceptional. I thought it was quite bland and there was other types of sashimi out there that are sweeter and tastier.

            1. re: bdachow

              It's not a delicacy because of taste, but because of its' texture and consistency. Most Japanese consider sashimi the best preparation of fugu.

              1. re: Silverjay

                Ah, well the exoticism of mouth numbing fugu really doesn't make up for the lack of taste unfortunately, for me at least.

          2. re: Chefpaulo

            I have eaten plenty of raw fruits (how else do you eat them?) in China without any problems. Wash them thoroughly and take the skin off.

            1. re: PeterL

              just be sure to wash in potable water.

              strawberries once in south korea. so sweet, tasty, beautiful. the entire office out sick
              for 3 days. not a good thing.

            2. re: Chefpaulo

              But raw fruits and vegs can be washed and disinfected.

            3. When I was a kid I used to gleefully eat the little white bit in the base of the lamb chops we had for dinner... I had no idea it was the spinal cord! I'd probably still be happy to eat it because I remember it's being delicious, but now I know about the danger involved in anything to do with the central nervous system I'd never touch it again! And I'm never going to eat fugu or (true) wild mushrooms because you're putting your life into the hands of the cook and I have no ambition to die because somebody couldn't tell the difference between a benevolent mushroom and a deadly one.

              11 Replies
              1. re: Kajikit

                I don't have a lamb chop in front of me so I'm trying to picture what little white bit you're talking about. And more importantly, what is the "danger involved in anything to do with the central nervous system"? Could you provide more info please?

                1. re: c oliver

                  Prions (the causative agent in Mad Cow--a misfolded protein) are more likely found in CNS tissue.

                  1. re: Bryn

                    And does cooking not make it alright? And are we actually having MC in the U.S.? Or anywhere else? Not being critical, just not something I'm knowledgeable about.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      No cooking doesn't affect them. Mad cow from cows is rare in the US, it's slightly more common (but still extremely rare) in wild meat like venison, but it's called something different depending on the animal. I only know Canada's methods of control of Mad cow not The USA. The severity of the disease is why it's so well known, but I wouldn't worry about eating steak or ground beef. Head Cheese I'm not taking the risk although it is a very small risk. I think the FDA probably has a better explanation of what level of risk each cut is.

                      1. re: Bryn

                        usa cases are rare because you don't hear about them.shoot shovel shut up

                        1. re: howlin

                          That's the Way the Alberta Ranchers deal with it, but I meant Human cases.

                          1. re: Bryn

                            no thats the way we should have dealt with it in the beginning before rcalf turned a simple case into something ugly and political

                      2. re: c oliver

                        As Bryn said below, cooking won't neutralize prions; they're actually proteins folded into a more stable shape, so unless you're planning on burning the food into charcoal, it won't neutralize them. And the bad news is that Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (ie, prion disease in humans) can be acquired from food, notably from venison.

                        In the 1990's there was a big scare about C-J, due to truly disgusting practices in raising beef in the UK, US and Canada leading to cows with prion disease sometimes finding their way into the food supply. The situation was particularly bad in the UK. Fast-forward to the end of the 2000's and the feared epidemic of C-J never arrived, thank goodness, and all those Britains who ate all that meat, head cheese, oxtail, etc., from contaminated cows have brains for brains, not jelly. So empirically it looks like there's not much to worry about from cattle.

                        1. re: tmso

                          yup, i've read and studied way too much about creutzfeld-Jakob disease to take any kind of chances.....

                          1. re: kubasd

                            No, it seems you've only "read and studied" way too much fear-mongering on the subject. As I said above, if the fear-mongers were right, there would have been an epidemic of C-J following the mad-cow scares. The good news is, they were wrong.

                  2. re: Kajikit

                    That part isn't spinal cord it is Marrow very tasty indeed.

                  3. Yes.
                    Rattlesnakes moving at the speed of sound.

                    Way, way too dangerous.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: slewfoot

                      Edit: old thread. Oops.
                      That said, as someone who studies new diseases:
                      rats and bats, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
                      ANY raw meat, fruit or veg in SE Asia

                    2. I stopped eating red meat due to the mad cow outbreak (I was about twelve at the time, I think) and stopped eating other meats when avian flu broke (I was in what I considered to be high-risk areas). I haven't eaten red meat in over a decade, and in the last five years have only had poultry once that I can recall (as a houseguest in Mexico). So now I don't have to worry about things like scorpions and monkey brains. They're non-issues.

                      In terms of fruits and vegetables, I'll eat just about anything. I ate a lot of raw fruit in Mexico (I was there for six months) and didn't get sick. I also ate a lot of nieves (shaved ice) from the cart outside my Mexican workplace. I'm sure the ice wasn't made from purified water, but again I didn't get sick. That being said, I did get all the proper hepatitis vaccinations before I went.

                      1. I don't drink tap water because I can taste the metals in it. And I was always taught not to because of the pipes.