Did you know eating tomatoes can kill you?

tomato botulism

Naturally sweet, tart and savoury – many enjoy the juicy tomato.  Filled with minerals and vitamins, tomatoes add a great deal of nutrition to any meal.  But did you know eating tomatoes can kill you?  Rather, eating tomatoes that have not been prepared well – can.

Raw red tomatoes can harbour deadly microbes, and eating too many can trigger dangerous health problems.


Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections particularly in young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, the organism can get into the bloodstream and produce more severe illnesses.

Excess Vitamin C

Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C.  Usually your body gets rid of extra amounts of vitamin C through urination, but if you consume an excess amount, it may trigger gastrointestinal issues, which lead to nausea and vomiting.


Tomatoes are high in acidity.  If you suffer from heartburn, it’s probably best that you stay away from tomatoes as eating them will encourage the production of acid in your stomach.


The beautiful red colour of tomatoes is from lycopene.  Eating an excess of lycopene can trigger lycopenemia, where your skin turns orange.


Foodborne botulism, sometimes a fatal paralytic illness, is caused by nerve toxins from bacterial spores.  The deadly botulism spores on plant material can start to produce deadly toxins in an oxygenless mixture – for example, in canned sauces and bottled preservatives.

The Food and Drug Administration (USA) warns consumers should not eat certain types of raw red tomatoes; but cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and tomatoes sold with the vine still attached, or tomatoes grown at home are acceptable.

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