The 13 most dangerous foods in the world


The INSIDER Summary:

  • We rounded up some of the most dangerous foods to eat around the world — from the poisonous to the hygienically unsafe.
  • Sannakji is a Korean octopus dish served while it’s still alive that could suction itself to your throat.
  • Cherry pits and other fruit stones contain small amounts of cyanide.

When it comes to the world’s most dangerous foods, you probably think of exotic delicacies that most people will never come in contact with. Sure, a live Korean octopus that fights back when you swallow it may fit that criteria, but some of the worst food dangers are probably in your fridge or pantry right now.

We’ve rounded up the 13 most dangerous foods in the world (with some help from from Dr. Keith Kantor, nutritionist and CEO of the Nutritional Addiction Mitigation Eating and Drinking program), from poisonous produce to hygienically unsound dishes. However, sometimes it’s the most seemingly innocuous foods could land you in the hospital.

Keep scrolling at your own risk.

Cherry Seeds/Pits

Cherry Seeds/Pits

“Spit out your cherry seeds because they contain the poisonous compound hydrogen cyanide,” Dr. Kantor said.

That goes for other stone fruits like peaches, plums, and apricots. But don’t worry about it too much. Hydrogen cyanide is a poison, yes, but you’d have to eat a ton of cherry seeds before it would kill you. The limit for a 150-pound human is 703 milligrams of hydrogen cyanide per day, according to the National Institute of Health, which is safely hundreds of cherry seeds.

Fugu (Pufferfish)

Fugu (Pufferfish)

There’s a good reason why fugu (or pufferfish) is banned in the United States: it’s one of the most poisonous foods in the world. Unless it’s cooked exactly right, the puffer fish is 1,200 times more deadly than cyanide, which makes those cherry pits looks like a walk in the park.

Casu Marzu: Sardinian Maggot Cheese

Casu Marzu: Sardinian Maggot Cheese

Casu Marzu is a traditional Sardinian cheese that’s extra-fermented by live maggots that partially decompose the cheese. Not feeling this one? Neither is the US government. The cheese is banned for sanitary/hygienic reasons.

Hot Dogs

Hot Dogs

Pushing aside the dubious ingredients found inside most brands of hot dogs, hot dogs are notorious in many hospitals as one of the top choking hazards in the kitchen. They’re the number one cause of choking-related injuries in children under three, according to John Hopkins Medicine. So be sure to chew slowly!

Alfalfa Sprouts

Alfalfa Sprouts

Alfalfa sprouts, particularly raw, are an “ideal” environment for bacteria growth. Over the past two decades there have been 30 separate foodborne illness outbreaks associated with the consumption of sprouts, including Salmonella and E. coli, according to the US Department of Health & Human Services.

Sannakji: Raw Korean baby octopus

Sannakji: Raw Korean baby octopus

Sannakji is a raw octopus dish meant to be eaten while it’s still squirming. The danger here is that despite the sushi chef killing the octopus before serving it, nerve activity allows it to still wriggle, meaning that their suction cups could attach to your throat as you swallow. According to Food & Wine, six people die every year on average from choking on it.



“Undercooked or raw shellfish is particularly dangerous because they can absorb microbes/ harmful bacteria from the sea,” Dr. Kantor said. “They should always be cooked. Beware especially of raw oysters.”

Plus, shellfish is the most common (and one of the deadliest) food allergies, so extra caution is urged.

Unpasteurized Cheese

Unpasteurized Cheese

You’ll never be able to eat real Camembert cheese in America unpasteurized. Why? Because it’s made from , “raw” milk, which can contain all manner of harmful pathogens and bacteria that can spread dangerous foodborne illnesses, and imported raw milk cheeses are banned in America. Pretty soon, it may be impossible to buy unpasteurized cheese anywhere.



Surprised by this one? Bagels are obviously not poisonous, but the starchy breakfast food —just like avocados — is the cause of one of the most common knife injuries in the kitchen. In 2011, an estimated 2,000 Americans were sent to the ER with bagel-related injuries, according to the US Product Safety Commission.

Green Potatoes

Green Potatoes

The validity of the claim that unripened “green” potatoes are poisonous has been the subject of debate for some time. It is known, however, that the green tubers or new sprouts of the potato plant contain the dangerous toxin known as solanine and can cause serious illness if consumed in large quantities, according to the United States National Library of Medicine.

Ackee: a Jamaican fruit

Ackee: a Jamaican fruit

The ackee is a popular Jamaican fruit that is not allowed to enter the United States because it’s highly dangerous. When the fruit turns red, it’s ripe. But when it’s yellow, it’s teeming with toxic levels of hypoglycin A, which, when consumed, could result in vomiting, hypoglycemia, or even death. The black seeds on the other hand, are always poisonous.

Green Almonds or Cashews

Green Almonds or Cashews

“Bitter almonds in their most raw form are full of cyanide,” Keith Kantor said. “They need to go through a full heat treatment to remove toxins.” Thankfully, that means the bag of almonds or can of cashews you buy at the store is safe. But don’t worry, you’d have to eat 1,150 kernels to get poisoned, according to the CDC.

Kidney Beans

Kidney Beans

You may love to include kidney beans in stews and chilis, but you should never eat them raw. Raw kidney beans contain a toxic agent known as phytohaemagglutnin. As many as a handful of beans could bring on symptoms like vomiting and headaches. The toxin is significantly diminished when the beans are cooked, however.


7 Steps You Can Take to Avoid Getting Hacked
Elizabeth King

Elizabeth is a writer based in Chicago, IL. Follow her on Twitter

No matter how many measures you take to protect your personal information, the unfortunate truth is that no computer is truly safe. Any device that connects to the internet is theoretically vulnerable to being hacked, which means everything from your bank account to your credit cards to your social media accounts could be compromised, if your personal data were to fall into the wrong hands.

Lucas Apa, a hacker and penetration expert with Seattle-based security company IOActive, says “nothing can be 100 percent secure. Because technology isn’t static. New technology emerges faster than security experts are able to find and remediate vulnerabilities.”

Thankfully though, technology has adapted to these scary times, and there are plenty of measures you can take to protect your online (and offline) accounts. So although there’s always some chance a bad-intentioned hacker (or you know, the NSA) could get their mitts onto your email address, texts, and social media, things like password managers and two-factor authentication are concrete steps that even tech-phobes can (and should) take to secure their online activity.

Complex spoke with Apa, who shared several security recommendations for how to keep your devices, accounts, private information safe online:

1. Choose a secure messaging app

From WhatsApp to Facebook Messenger, there are many options for sending messages to friends, family, and colleagues. But which is most secure? Apa says the best messaging app consumers can use right now is the encrypted messaging and voice calling app Signal.

Because Signal’s security protocol is open source, independent experts can play with the protocol and find vulnerabilities that could allow hackers to grab messages and files, Apa tells Complex. And unlike other messaging apps, Signal does not store any messages or files on their servers. So even if their servers got hacked, there would be nothing to find. This also means that messages and files sent through Signal are safe from the government—the only data stored is a timestamp with the last time a person connected to the app.

WhatsApp fails on the storage front, according to Apa. “When information is stored on servers, they can be obtained by federal authorities. The messages are stored automatically through iCloud or other syncing methods,” meaning your messages are still out there on the app’s server. WhatsApp also stores contacts, which could also potentially be summoned. Facebook Messenger fails, too, save for the “secret conversation” mode.

So if you want to make sure nobody can access your messages and files sent through a messaging app, skip Facebook and WhatsApp altogether (or at least for really sensitive information), and download Signal.

2. Get two-step verification for your email

If your server offers it, Apa recommends adding two-step verification to your email address. While a password can be obtained through other means (such as phishing), a second step password is a random set of characters sent directly to your personal device, which means an attacker would need both your email password and your phone, tablet, or laptop to access your email account. Adding two-step verification only adds a few seconds to your log-in process, and could potentially save you a lot of trouble if a hacker tried to get your emails.

3. Check who’s been accessing your account

Security measures aren’t perfect, so while Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, and other companies have plenty of their own protocols in place, it’s smart to add your own. “Because security features that users can modify and activate [in social media accounts and email] are limited, it’s a good idea to check the access logs on personal accounts,” Apa explains. In other words, make sure login records match your own activity. If there’s an IP address or timestamp that doesn’t look familiar, it could mean someone other than you accessed your account, and you should change your password ASAP.

4. Have a strong phone passcode

Speaking of passwords: not only do individual accounts need strong passwords, but Apa says that choosing the right password for your phone or tablet is also vital. If someone steals your phone, a 4-digit password is going to be easier to break than a 6 or 10-digit password (as long as it’s not something predictable like 111111), so it’s a good idea to opt for a longer one. Apa says that a 6-digit code should be sufficient, but there’s no harm in using the maximum amount of digits your phone allows.

5. Use trusted devices

“Avoid logging into private accounts from public computers,” such as at the library or school computers, Apa advises. “Many times people get hacked because attackers can install keylogger software [software that tracks keystrokes on a device] on public computers, and within a couple of days, tons of passwords can be obtained.” If you have to check your email or Facebook away from a trusted device, consider updating your password later that day, so that even if your password was obtained by someone else, they won’t be able to use it to gain access to your accounts.

6. Seriously, for the love of God: Choose a strong password

As we all know, a number of celebrities have paid the price for choosing weak passwords in recent months, including Facebook CEO Mar Zuckerberg, whose Twitter and Pinterest accounts were hacked in 2016 after hackers cracked his lackluster password: “dadada.” Zuck should know better—and so should we. A strong password is key for protecting private data. Further, Apa says that passwords should be one per account: “Don’t use the same password for Gmail that you use for business email or social media. If you have the same password for one account and you get hacked, hackers will use that same password to try to access other accounts.”

If you have a hard time keeping track of a long list of complex passwords, Apa suggests installing a secure password manager such as KeePassX. We should also update all of our passwords periodically.

7. Install encryption software

Lastly, Apa says that anyone can and should install encryption software on their computer(s). By encrypting the files and date on your computer, this software makes it difficult for attackers to access information stored locally on your device. For Windows, Apa recommends Blocker, and FileVault for Macs.



Best Way to Improve Your Credit Score in 2019

This is a key time to learn more about how to establish and maintain good credit.

Get Free Credit Score

The good news is that just by reading this, you’re already taking the first steps on your journey toward better credit and learning about what it takes to improve your credit score.

Best Way to Improve Credit Credit Score

Feeling as though your credit score could use some improvement? You’re not alone. Research shows that many Americans could use a little help in the credit department. The average American credit score as of September 24, 2018, is 704, which falls just shy of what is considered a good rating.

In this article, we’re going to look at different ways you can improve your credit score, hear from some Credit Sesame members on how they improved their credit score, and dive into some of the data behind the strategies.

Age Group & Average 4 Year Credit Score Change

Age Group Average Credit Score 2014 Average Credit Score 2016 Average Credit Score 2018
18 to 24 628 631 635
25 to 34 630 634 638
35 to 44 653 655 658
45 to 54 700 700 703
55 + 735 730 729

Source: Historical data take from Experian State of Credit 2014, 2016. Current data survey of 2,500 people in the United States on 9/2/2018.

Why is improving your credit score important?

When it comes to improving your credit, there really is no time to waste. A low credit score may not seem like a big deal until it’s time to leverage your credit for a car loan, mortgage, insurance, and many other big life events. Americans with low credit scores may not be eligible to borrow money for these things or might end up with much higher interest rates than someone with a higher credit score. The earlier you begin working to improve your credit score, the easier it will be for you to accomplish these things.

What makes up your credit score?

As you can see from the chart below, payment history is the single most important factor when it comes to your credit score. After that comes credit utilization, and the two together make up the bulk of your score. That’s not to say you should ignore the other factors at work, but understand that these are the major players here.

FICO Scoring Model Calculation (Weight) Factors

Credit Factors Credit Score Weight
Payment History 35%
Credit Utilization 30%
Credit Age 15%
Different Types of Credit 10%
Number of Inquiries 10%

Source: Data found September 26, 2018. Boeing Employees Credit Union website. Understanding Your FICO Score. Retrieved from

Factors that may be affecting your credit score

Now ask yourself the following questions and keep track of the “yes” responses:

Do you make late payments?

The number one factor in your score is your payment history. Late payments quickly drop your credit score. Each payment helps, but just one missed payment can wreck that progress. If you miss a due date, make the payment as soon as possible since lenders typically don’t report a payment late until 30 days after it is due.

Are your credit cards maxed out?

Your credit utilization ratio counts nearly as much as payment history. Credit utilization is the amount of total debt versus total credit limit. Very high credit utilization, or amounts owed, means that your cards may be maxed out. For example, if you’re carrying $3,000 in debt with a $4,000 combined credit limit, your credit utilization ratio is 75 percent.

The solution: bring down your balances. The lower your ratio, the better the boost. People with the best credit scores use no more than 7 percent of their available credit.

Credit utilization is calculated for each card as well as for an overall tally. Even one tapped-out card can hurt your score.

Do you close your old accounts or have only very new accounts?

The third factor is your credit accounts’ average age. Since you’ll gain points in this category over time, you generally shouldn’t close old accounts or those you have paid off.

Do you only use one type of credit?

The next factor is the credit mix. The credit bureaus want to see evidence that you can successfully manage a variety of credit types. For example, student loans, mortgages and auto loans are all installment loans with a fixed payment, but a credit card or home equity line of credit represents a revolving credit with variable payments.

Do you often apply for new credit products?

Each inquiry into your credit, which is what happens with each credit application, can drop your score by a few points. Soft inquiries–which include employment checks, self-checks, and inquiries to prequalify you for promotional offers–do not hurt your score. Hard inquiries are those made as the result of an application for new credit. Those are the inquiries you need to limit.

Think about your answers to the questions above. Each “yes” is a factor contributing to your low credit score.

How to improve your credit score

There are a number of ways to improve your credit score, both in the short term and the long term. We’ve gathered our favorite quick tips as well as general advice for improving your score below. You can also join Credit Sesame for personalized recommendations on improving your credit score.

Check your free annual credit reports for mistakes

Nothing is flawless. Mistakes happen. Error correction is the simplest way to improve your score now. According to the Federal Trade Commission, one out of five consumers has an error on at least one of their credit reports. Don’t let misreported information be the cause of poor credit when it’s relatively easy to fix.

Regularly checking your credit report is an essential first step toward improving your score. How can you bring up the number if you don’t know what it is? As you can see from the chart below, those who check their score on a regular basis see the benefits.

Number of People Checking Their Credit Score Annually

Americans Who Checked Credit Report at Least Annually Number Who Check Credit Report Members Non-Members
Poor 15.3 Million 18% 12%
Fair 24.7 Million 27% 21%
Good 27.1 Million 42% 36%
Very Good 25.3 Million 59% 48%
Excellent 27.6 Million 71% 66%

Source: Historical Data provided by Current Data provided by a survey given to 750 members and non-members over the course of two years, starting 2/15/2016 and ending 2/15/2018.It’s clear from the data that those with higher credit scores are more likely to check their annual credit report at least once a year. Although it’s not the reason of why they have a higher credit score since it’s not a factor it does point to the idea that checking your credit can help you be aware of where you stand and how you can improve it.

Pay on time, every time

Payment history is your No. 1 friend or enemy, depending on how you approach it. Since this comprises 35 percent of your score, you can’t afford to ignore it. Instead, make bill payment a priority. If you need to make a schedule, do it. If you need a dedicated calendar for the purpose, go for it. Whatever it takes to get yourself on a strict payment schedule, that’s what needs to happen.

Payment history is the most important factor in your credit score. The chart below shows this. You can see that good payment habits are rewarded with higher credit scores. Start today and you’ll soon see the benefits.

Late Payment by Generation

Generation Late Payments Last 12 Months
Gen Z Members 35%
Gen Z Non-Members 40%
Millennial Members 46%
Millennial Non-Members 52%
Gen X Members 41%
Gen X Non-Members 46%
Baby Boomer Members 19%
Baby Boomer Non-Members 25%

Source: Credit Sesame polled 400 participants between February 10, 2018, and February 17, 2018. 100 participants were Gen Z, 100 participants were Millennials, 100 participants were Gen X, and 100 participants were Baby Boomers.We see that millennials are still struggling to keep up with paying on time. It’s important to set calendar alerts and reminders on your phone to ensure you are paying your bills on time as that is one of the major determinations of your credit score.

Credit Score Drop from Late Payments

Credit Sesame Member Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5
Member #1 689 712 (Late Payment) 672 (-40 Point Drop) 688 717
Member #2 754 761 770 (Late Payment) 712 (-58 Point Drop) 749
Member #3 592 604 623 (Late Payment) 578 (-45 Point Drop) 592

Source: Based on 3 Credit Sesame members and their credit score before the drop and after the drop (including recovery).

Improve your credit utilization

You can’t max out your credit cards and still have a good score. You need to keep your ratios low and use as little credit as possible. One way to think about it is that you should only make purchases on your credit card (emergencies are an exception) when you can pay for them out of pocket.

Improving your credit utilization is the second most important step toward improving your credit profile. Successful credit applicants and those with the best scores have the lowest percentage of credit utilization in relation to the amount of credit they have.

Impact of Credit Utilization on your Credit Score

Credit Utilization Average Credit Score
0% 692
1-10% 753
11-30% 703
31-50% 664
51-70% 636
71% 617

Source: pattern here is quite clear – don’t overuse your credit or you’ll end up lowering your credit score quite significantly. Just compare those who have an average of 1-10% utilization and a 753 credit score compared to those with 51-70% and a 636 credit score.

Being able to apply for new credit or loans will become a lot more difficult once you find yourself in the average of poor credit score range – if not impossible.

Use different types of credit accounts

Your credit mix is another major component of your score. Lenders want to know that you can handle different types of credit products, and look for favorably on those who have several credit accounts open. However, be careful about opening too many new accounts at once. Lenders view multiple applications for credit cards negatively.

Credit Mix & Resulting Change Timeframe

Types of Credit (open, unsecured, secured, revolving, installment) Typical Impact to Score How Long It Takes to See Changes
Two Types 10 – 15 Points 1 – 2 Months
Three Types 10 – 15 Points 1 – 2 Months
Four Types 15 – 20 Points 1 – 2 Months
Five Types 12 – 20 Points 1 – 2 Months

Source: Survey was conducted on 02/13/18 with a total of 500 responses.Although credit mix doesn’t have the greatest amount of weight for improving your credit score – improving the amount different types of credit you have can give you a decent boost to your credit standing.

Average Time to See Credit Score Improvement (Credit Mix Impact)

Credit Score Factors 0-3 Months 3-6 Months 6-12 Months 12+ Months
Payment History +20 Points +36 Points +48 Points +60 Points
Credit Utilization +15 Points +29 Points +41 Points +55 Points
Length of Credit History +5 Points +7 Points +12 Points +20 Points
Credit Mix +10 Points +11 Points +12 Points +14 Points
New Credit +10 Points +9 Points +7 Points +6 Points

Source: Survey of 750 members who actively worked on improving their credit score. Survey completed over the course of 24 months from 2/15/2016 – 2/15/2018.Having a strong credit mix (variety) will help you slowly increase your credit score over time – it would be as much of a jump as payment history or utilization but every bit counts.

Be cautious with unpaid collections

Paying off your outstanding debt will help … right? Not necessarily. Sometimes it simply resets the clock and dings your history even harder. Three things to know here:

  • The newest versions of FICO® and VantageScore® ignore paid collections
  • Pay off the most recent delinquent accounts first because these hurt your score the most
  • Non-medical collection debt hurts your score more than medical collections

Fixing unpaid collections can be yet another major component of improving your score. Proceed with caution here, though, as paying down some accounts in collection will not improve your score but actually reset the clock on how long it will take for that debt to fall off your report. Do your research.

Negative Impacts on an Excellent Credit (800+) Ranking over 6, 12, and 24 Months

Negative Factor 6 Months 12 Months 24 Months
Account Charged Off -45 -90 -180
Credit Collections -30 -58 -113
Loan Defaulting -34 -75 -98
Filing Bankruptcy -65 -97 -126
Home Foreclosure -70 -143 -177
High Credit Utilization -15 -29 -41
Closing Credit Card -8 -13 -22

Source: Credit Surveyed 80 people with an Excellent Credit Ranking who reported negative impacts to their credit score over a period of two years between February of 2015 and March of 2017. The numbers represent the average credit score points gained or lost by the stated factors.With excellent credit, your score won’t drop as drastically as those with poor credit who typically have less creditability to lenders. It doesn’t mean however that you won’t take a toll when it comes to credit collections – you can see how on average we found a 113 point drop in 24 months with those who have had credit collections on their credit reports.

Negative Impacts on Bad Credit (550<) Ranking over 6, 12, and 24 Months

Negative factor 6 Months 12 Months 24 Months
Account Charged Off -90 -180 -241
Credit Collections -51 -78 -121
Loan Defaulting -89 -117 -142
Filing Bankruptcy -87 -194 -229
Home Foreclosure -79 -173 -183
High Credit Utilization -21 -38 -54
Closing Credit Card -16 -27 -33

Source: Credit Surveyed 80 people with a Very Good Credit Ranking who reported negative impacts to their credit score over a period of two years between February of 2015 and March of 2017. The numbers represent the average credit score points gained or lost by the stated factors.From the data above we see that collections can be quite detrimental when it comes to hurting your credit score but it is also important to understand that staying away from this negative effect can, of course, sustain your credit score.

Sometimes we learn best from those who, like us, have faced adverse situations.

Enter our Sesame Stories, in which we offer true cases of people who have managed to successfully improve their financial situations.

User Story: Joe A. is just starting to improve his credit.

Member Since: 2016

We interviewed Joe A. on September 10, 2018. He is a 29-year-old who works two jobs and has joint custody of his young daughter. He lives in Laramie, Wyo.
Q: Explain your credit situation and why you needed to improve it.
A: I couldn’t keep up with bills each month because I was working two jobs, paying child support and trying to launch my own business at the same time. I was so busy I’d forget to pay the electricity bill one month and wouldn’t know about it until one day the lights would go out. I know this shouldn’t be this difficult, but it kept happening and I guess my credit score dropped. I also use cash for almost everything, so I didn’t check my score until I wanted to lease a car and the salesman checked it. My score was 590, and he told me I did not qualify.
Q: What steps did you take to improve?
A: I got organized with my bills and put what I could on autopay, like my water bill and electricity. I didn’t miss any payments for a few months. When my score goes up, I want to open a credit card since I don’t have any at the moment. I probably won’t use it though, but I want to have at least one to build my credit and in case of an emergency.
Q: What do you recommend to others who want to improve their credit scores?
A: Don’t miss your payments! Set up autopay if you can for the same time each month. Get a starter credit card to build credit and just use a little bit and pay it off each month so you don’t get into debt while trying to improve your score.

Regularly checking your credit report is an essential first step toward improving your score. This Credit Sesame user is just starting his path to improving his credit score, and will soon be enjoying the benefits.

Benefits of learning how to improve your credit score

When it comes to improving your credit, there really is no time to waste.

The lower your score, the lower your interest rates will be and the easier it will be for you to obtain credit And the lower your credit score, the harder it is to get low insurance rates, qualify for credit cards, and more.

The higher your credit score, the more opportunities you’ll have to reach bigger financial goals. With a little hard work, an excellent credit score rating is within reach for most Americans.

Conclusion & summary

If you didn’t manage to absorb all of the details in this tutorial then just remember this – improving your credit is as easy as understanding what affects your credit score.

Keeping in mind the major credit score factors of:

  1. Payment History (Credit History)
  2. Credit Utilization
  3. Credit Age
  4. Different Types of Credit (Credit Mix)
  5. Number of Inquiries

Each of these factors is your path to credit score improvement. The first two make up 65% of your total credit score weight so make sure you are paying your bills on time and keeping your credit utilization below 30%, or better yet, 20%, and you should start seeing your credit improve over time.

You can trust that we maintain strict editorial integrity in our writing and assessments; however, we receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners and get approved.
Published December 20, 2018  Updated: April 30, 2019