When traveling or in everyday life, you are an explorer of more or less exotic specialties. Be careful, certain dishes from here and elsewhere must be prepared with extreme care, otherwise they will make you seriously ill, or even kill you…
Larvae cheese: casu marzu
This Italian cheese has an unsavory specificity: it is infested with fly larvae, deliberately introduced during the maturation of the cheese. If these allow a different fermentation of the product, the larvae can cause serious damage to the intestines, leading to various side effects: nausea, stomach aches, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.
Sannakji, a living octopus
Sannakji is a South Korean culinary specialty made from octopus… tasted “vivant“. A practice which is not without risks: the suction cups of its tentacles can cling to the palate, the tongue or in the throat and cause suffocation.
Raw cashew nuts are full of toxins, which can cause serious poisoning.
“Nevertheless, when they are sold in Europe, there is no risk. They are treated as they should be. It is only when they come from abroad that they can pose a problem“, specifies Dr Cocaul.
Raw elderberries are extremely toxic. Their toxicity is only destroyed after long cooking.
Whether consumed in the form of mash, chips or cake, cassava can be very dangerous, even fatal. It indeed contains traces of cyanide which disappear once it has been soaked in water. If it has been poorly prepared, dizziness, vomiting and discomfort can occur, and sometimes even death, if the person is not rescued in time.
“Cassava can also be contaminated with multiple pesticides and fungicides“, warns Dr. Cocaul.
Very popular in Japan, fugu or puffer fish can be deadly if poorly prepared. Some of its organs actually contain tetrodotoxin – a dangerous toxin. However, this poison can paralyze the motor nerves of the body, and in the most serious cases, lead to respiratory arrest.
“You should never prepare this fish at home. Only qualified cooks, trained for years, can serve it in the restaurant.“, specifies Dr Cocaul.
NO to diets, YES to WW!
This species of mollusk, which lives several meters deep under sand or mud, must be consumed with great caution. And for good reason: it is infected by many viruses and bacteria, such as hepatitis A and E, typhoid and dysentery.
“In general, you have to be careful with exotic foods that you don’t know how to cook or prepare.“, concludes the nutritionist.