The Most-Dangerous Ingredients on Chopped

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“If you kill a judge, you might get chopped," warns Ted in the Deadliest Baskets episode. Read on for the dangers of the ingredients in this episode and some other toxic elements the judges have had to face over the years.


Eel blood is toxic and it must be completely cooked out of the meat, Ted warns in the beginning of a special Halloween-themed episode. A contestant just torches the eel and the judges are unable to taste his dish due to safety concerns.


In one episode, the chefs are given the tails of blowfish much to their shock. Blowfish is used to make the notorious Japanese dish Fugu, which, if not prepared properly, can kill you. "The stakes are really getting higher here," jokes Scott. Luckily Ted points out that these are farm-raised blowfish and they haven't had the chance to develop the toxin. We’d still just take a small bite!


The skin and the seeds of this exotic fruit are toxic. Though the seeds must technically be crushed to release the toxic elements, a contestant leaves one of the whole seeds on a judge's plate and ends up getting chopped.


As Ted points out, "You'd have to eat a ridiculous amount of nutmeg to have any problem with illness." However, some studies suggest that as little as two teaspoons of nutmeg can be toxic.


The dangers of absinthe are more myth than fact. Absinthe contains a chemical called thujone which has been rumored to cause the hallucinations and erratic behavior linked to consumption of the spirit. No studies have ever been able to support this link and the consensus is that any ill effects are simply from overindulgence.


Unless the chefs really go overboard, this tart fruit is unlikely to harm the judges. Mark points out that rhubarb is high in oxalates and too much can harm or kill a person, but someone would need to eat 11 pounds. The leaves are more toxic and are usually cut off before the fruit makes it to market.


Consistently showing up on list of the most-dangerous foods to eat, the CDC recommends cooking oysters correctly to reduce the high risk of foodborne illness. Though of course so many of us still love to slurp them raw!

Ghost Peppers

Ten times hotter than jalapenos, ghost peppers tip the Scoville scale at over one million. A study in 1980 calculated that eating three pounds of the chilies would be needed to affect a 150-pound person, so the risk to the judges is minimal.


Alligator can be dangerous because it has so much bacteria and must be correctly cleaned and cooked through, says Aaron.


The unusual ingredients aren’t the only thing to be afraid of. Sometimes contestants forget to flip their cutting boards after cutting up raw chicken leading to the possibility of salmonella contamination. They will likely be chopped if the judges cannot taste the food.

A Contestant's Blood

When the judges can't taste the food because of sanitary issues the contestant often gets Chopped. Check out this video where a contestant's worst nightmare is realized.