Eight #controversial #foods from around the #world

Maggi is in the spotlight due to allegations of lead content and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Here are some other food items from across the globe that are dangerous because of their content or the manner in which they are served.

What: Casu Marzu
Country of origin: Italy

Literally meaning rotten cheese, it has thousands of live maggots in it. When disturbed, these maggots can leap into the eyes of the person eating it. Also, dead maggot content in the cheese can be poisonous. Those not keen to eat the soft cheese with maggots in it, remove it by placing it in a sealed paper bag. The other controversy surrounding it is whether it should be sold commercially.

What: Fugu fish or pufferfish
Coun​try of origin: Japan

This is a delicious but deadly delicacy and the availability of the same is strictly controlled in Japan. Its tetrodotoxin content in the liver and some other body parts must be painstakingly removed else it can contaminate the rest of the fish. Chefs undergo years of training just to learn how to prepare this one dish. After their training, they themselves have to taste what they cooked in order to pass muster.

What: Ikizukuri
Country of origin: Japan

The fish is served to a diner or group of diners while still alive, purportedly to prove its freshness. The flesh is cut from the fish as it squirms on the plate. It is controversial due to concern about the suffering the animal endures on being eaten alive.

What: Yin Yang Fish
Country of origin: Taiwan

The fish is deep fried for a few seconds so that its skin is scalded but the fish is very much alive. Again, this is done to prove its freshness to customers. The dish is reportedly prohibited in Taiwan and illegal in Australia and Germany.

What: Drunken shrimp
Country of origin: China

The shrimp are dunked in strong alcohol to stun them reportedly in order to make them easier to eat. Consuming uncooked shellfish may be lead to a serious health hazard due to the risk of paragonimiasis (food-borne parasitic infection)

What: Ortolan
Country of origin: France

Eating an Ortolan in France is illegal. If they are consumed, then it is because they are hunted illegally. The tiny bird was consumed so much that they are now in decline. They are blinded, force-fed millet then drowned alive in Armagnac (a type of brandy) before being roasted.

What: Fruit bat soup
Country of origin: Guam, US Island Territory

The bats are known to have a diet consisting of plants that cause neurological disease in humans. Plus bats are rabies carriers. The entire bat is cooked as a soup intact with claws, fur, wings and their insides uncleaned and unremoved.

What: Sannakji (live octopus)
Country of origin: South Korea

The octopus is washed, cut up and served with the tentacles still wriggling on the plate. A variation includes consuming baby octopus when alive. Both are dangerous as the suction cups on the tentacles can stick to the food pipe if not chewed properly.


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