Top 10 Scariest Food Urban Legends

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Top 10 Scariest Food Urban Legends

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
Well, there goes our appetite. For this list, we'll be looking at various urban legends surrounding food that have either become common belief or that made national headlines. Our countdown includes Flesh-Eating Bananas from Costa Rica, Biscuit-Induced Coma, Mutant KFC Chickens, and more!
Transcript
Script written by Nathan Sharp

Top 10 Scariest Food Urban Legends


People love a good story. But what if they’re not true? Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Scariest Food Urban Legends.

For this list, we’ll be looking at various urban legends surrounding food that have either become common belief or that made national headlines.

#10: Chewing Gum Stays in Your Stomach

Don’t swallow chewing gum or it will sit in your stomach for seven years! You undoubtedly heard this old wives’ tale as a child, and maybe it has stuck with you ever since. Well you can shed that mental burden, because this urban legend is 100% false. Yes, many of the ingredients are technically indigestible, which means your body cannot break down the components. But that’s not the same as “the wad of chewed gum will physically sit inside of your stomach for seven years.” It comes out just like any other food stuff, so if you accidentally swallow that piece, there’s no need to get worked up about it.

#9: Flesh-Eating Bananas from Costa Rica

Back in the Dark Ages of the internet, AKA late 1999 and early 2000, an e-mail from the so-called “Manheim Research Institute” warned of imported Costa Rican bananas that were “infected” with a bacteria called necrotizing fasciitis. This is a grisly flesh-eating disease that essentially eats away at the body’s soft tissue. Apparently the disease had “grafted itself” to the banana peels, and 15,000 Americans were expected to become infected. Of course, this was nothing more than a malicious internet hoax, which was updated in 2011 with bananas of African origin, and the story was filled to the brim with scientific and biological inaccuracies.

#8: Tapeworm in Welch’s

Do you believe everything you read on Facebook? Back in September 2018, a Facebook user named Courtnie Sassenach claimed to find a tapeworm inside a Welch's fruit snack. Welch’s responded to the viral post, explaining that the “tapeworm” was likely nothing more than “excess product drizzled on the exterior.” Sassenach apparently went to her local doctor’s lab and had the snack tested, and they deduced that it was indeed a dehydrated tapeworm She also allegedly sent the snack to Welch’s for inspection, as per their request. However, Welch’s parent company stated that they had never received the snack nor had they received documentation proving that a lab test had occurred, meaning this claim is still currently unproven.

#7: Biscuit-Induced Coma

Back in June 2013, you may have heard about food writer Kevin Shalin, AKA The Mighty Rib. The story goes that Shalin was trying to beat a restaurant record by eating hundreds of Cheddar Bay Biscuits from Red Lobster. After eating 413 biscuits, Shalin started convulsing and slipped into a butter-induced coma. Apparently the butter had “blocked signals coming from Shalin’s brain” and doctors were forced to drain two gallons of butter from Shalin’s body. The story originated on the satirical website Rock City Times but was picked up and circulated as real news by the likes of the Daily Mirror and Canada’s The Globe and Mail. Yes, these publications actually fell for a satirical news article.

#6: The Wendy’s Finger

Back in 2005, a woman by the name of Anna Ayala allegedly found a severed human finger in her bowl of Wendy’s chili and subsequently filed a lawsuit. This story was everywhere, and the allegations cost Wendy’s over $21 million in lost revenue (and lots of public goodwill). An investigation was quickly launched by the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner’s Office, who deduced that the severed finger did not come from a Wendy’s restaurant or its supplier. It was later discovered that the finger had belonged to a friend of Ayala’s husband, who had lost it in a work accident. Ayala was sentenced to nine years in state prison, and her husband was sentenced to twelve for supplying the finger.

#5: Poisoned Halloween Candy

You’ve undoubtedly heard stories of psychos poisoning Halloween candy (and so have your parents), but according to most sources, reports of genuine Halloween poisonings are hard to come by. In fact, there have been zero confirmed cases of children dying this day. At least not from random strangers. There have been reports of children being poisoned by Halloween candy or injured by sharp objects in it, but all had explanations and none could be traced to random happenstance. Some were intentional poisonings from family members (as horrible as that is to consider), some were pure accidents, and some deaths were mistakenly attributed to the candy.

#4: Virus-Tainted Cadbury Products

Stories of people contaminating food with HIV-positive blood have been circulating for many years. Yet another story popped up in 2018 claiming that a Cadbury employee had “added his HIV-infected blood” to the products. However, there was absolutely no truth to this story. There were no documented arrests, no issued warnings, and no investigations whatsoever - in other words, it was pure internet fakery. And even if the story was true, victims would likely not be infected with HIV, as the virus cannot survive for long outside the host. Yes, eating or drinking someone’s blood would be horrifying, there’s no doubt about that. But you wouldn’t become infected.

#3: Mutant KFC Chickens

Stories have been circulating about mutant KFC chickens for years, since Kentucky Fried Chicken officially changed their name to KFC. According to the urban legend, this is because the company could not legally use the word “chicken” in their name. The supposed reason they couldn’t do so was because they were actually raising genetically modified mutant chickens that bore little resemblance to the natural animal. However, KFC actually changed their name for other logistical reasons, they don’t own the farms the chickens are raised on, and the word “chicken” is still used in their product descriptions. Like KFC themselves have stated, “No mutated chickens are involved in making our delicious fried chicken.”

#2: Cockroach Eggs in Plastic Straws

In 2010, a bizarre email was circulated claiming that plastic straws were filled with cockroach eggs. The email begins with “I ordered a club sandwich and a Sprite in a restaurant somewhere,” which immediately throws the story’s veracity into question. After allegedly finding 1,000 cockroach eggs in their plastic straw, the storyteller found straw eggs “in [almost all] the restaurants and fast food chains that [they] had gone to.” It certainly makes for a disgusting story, considering how much of humanity is repulsed by cockroaches and our collective fear of contaminated food. But the story doesn’t make a lick of sense, fortunately, with many of its supposed details, including the years of when it happened versus when it was reported and how cockroaches actually lay eggs being incorrect.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few dishonorable mentions.

Tim Hortons Coffee Contains Nicotine
Don’t Worry, Your Morning Joe Is Nicotine-Free (& Delicious!)

“Grade D But Edible” Meat
There Is No Such Thing as a “Grade D But Edible” Classification

Bubble Yum Contains Spider Eggs
No Spiders Were Harmed in the Blowing of This Bubble

Earthworms Are Used as Filler in McDonald’s Burgers
Ew! It’s Beef, Not Worms!

Deep Fried Rat Head at Popeyes
It Was Probably Just Organ Meat & a Health Inspection Found No Evidence of Vermin

#1: Pop Rocks & Soda Can Kill You

If the internet is to be believed, some easily-accessible candies are death traps in waiting. No, two Brazilian children did not die after ingesting Mentos and Coke. And no, combining Pop Rocks with soda will not cause your stomach to explode. This rumor began circulating ages ago, and it was even believed that this so-called lethal combination killed child actor John Gilchrist. The urban legend grew so pronounced that General Foods launched an extensive campaign proving that it wasn’t true. This campaign included full-page ads in various publications and letters to concerned parents and school principals. And if that wasn’t enough, the MythBusters also proved that it is nothing but a myth. So there.
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Where is the %u201CRazor Blade in Halloween Candy%u201D ?