Fun & Easy Science for Kids
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Toxic Food


If you’ve ever had food poisoning, you know that it’s miserable. Food poisoning is caused by eating food that contains bacteria. This bacteria can make you really sick. But did you know that some foods contain poisons, rather than bacteria? Yikes!


Fun Facts

  • The seeds/pits of cherries, apples, apricots and peaches contain a type of cyanide. Crushed seeds are especially dangerous.
  • Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid, a compound that can cause kidney stones and serious illness. Stick with eating red stalks only.
  • Nutmeg in even small amounts can cause convulsions, seizures, and hallucinations. More than a sprinkling and you could be in trouble!
  • Eating glycoalkaloids found in the leaves, stems, and sprouts of potatoes can lead to diarrhea, headaches, confusion, comas, or even death. Avoid eating green potatoes too.
  • Did you know that there are two types of almonds? Sweet almonds are fine to eat, but bitter almonds contain cyanide. Even eating 7 to 10 almonds can make you seriously ill.
  • Grayanotoxin in raw honey has been known to cause sweating, weakness, dizziness, and vomiting. Children under age two shouldn’t eat honey at all.
  • Tomato leaves and stems contain a poison that can cause stomach trouble.
  • High levels of mercury in tuna can potentially cause brain damage. Best to limit tuna consumption to no more than once a week.
  • Cashews are covered with uroshiol, the same compound that causes itchiness after touching poison ivy. Cashews in the grocery store are steamed to remove this compound.
  • E coli and salmonella are two of the most common types of bacteria in food. E coli can be found in produce that’s been fertilized with manure and raw meat. Salmonella is sometimes found in raw eggs. Both types of bacteria can cause serious illness.
  • Additives such as food dyes, preservatives, and bleaches can also make you sick. These ingredients can be found in everything from sports drinks to soda to mac and cheese. Read the ingredients, cook from scratch, and buy organic whenever possible.

Questions and Answers

Question: How can I prevent food-related illnesses?

Answer: The best strategy is good sanitation and food prep. Refrigerate perishable foods as soon as you get home from the grocery store. Put away the leftovers within an hour of serving foods. Wash your hands before preparing foods and be sure to wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly. Never eat food that has an off-smell or appearance.



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Declan, Tobin. " Toxic Food Facts for Kids ." Easy Science for Kids, May 2020. Web. 29 May 2020. < >.

APA Style Citation

Tobin, Declan. (2020). Toxic Food Facts for Kids. Easy Science for Kids. Retrieved from

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