Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Poisonous Foods

Chocolate and Ricin
Ricin, the poison allegedly sent to senators and the White House, is an easy deadly poison to make. The same seed that makes ricin is used to make chocolate.
The castor oil plant is commonly available and favored by landscapers because it grows quickly and has pretty flowers. In warmer climates like the southern US it will grow wild in vacant lots. The plant is also legally grown commercially.

Oil from the castor bean has many uses including herbal medicine. It is a valuable lubricant found in products like Castrol R motor oil. Castor oil is used in foods as an emulsifier.
The ingredient PGPR in your Hersey chocolate bar is made from castor beans. The recipe to make ricin from castor beans is easily found on the internet.

Poisoned Apples
Apple seeds, apricot kernels, cherry pits, and almond nuts all contain deadly amounts of cyanide. A half cup of apple seeds, ground up and consumed all at once is enough to kill someone. About 15 raw bitter almonds are a lethal dose.

The stalks are fine. The green leaves are deadly. The poison is oxalic acid, also found in spinach. Food shortages during World War I caused people to eat rhubarb leaves; several people died.

Potatoes and Tomatoes
Both are members of the Deadly Nightshade (belladonna) family. In the case of tomatoes the fruit is fine but the stems and leaves contain tomatine. Potatoes are more deadly. Here the poison is solanine found in leaves and sprouting tubers.

All these plants are completely legal to grow. The deadly parts of the plants are legal to own and transport across state lines (except for raw bitter almonds which must be heat treated). Hemp, quite non-lethal, is, however, extremely illegal.

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