HOAX-ALERT: Eating eggs & bananas together won’t kill you

Holding a placard saying “I was a victim”, a Ghanaian professional footballer based in Nigeria warned his Facebook followers against a poisonous mixture.

“Do not eat egg and banana at the same time!!!” Farouk Mohammed posted.

The warning was similar to another posted on Facebook in early June: “Never eat an egg and banana at the same time because their mixture gives a poison that kills within 5 minutes.”

This post included two photos of men lying on the floor, seemingly dead, next to a spread of food that included bananas. It’s not clear where the photos are from, but they’ve been circulating online since at least 2013.

At the time we published this report, the original post had been shared 52,569 times and liked by 1,242 people.

The footballer didn’t answer Africa Check’s question on how he managed to survive.

Three ways to tell it’s a hoax

First, why aren’t there more reports of this fatal combination? Boiled eggs, bananas and groundnuts are popular snacks for travellers in Nigeria. Nigerians themselves are known to eat dishes like scrambled eggs with banana, and banana pancakes.

So you’d expect to hear of thousands of people dropping dead after eating this “poison”. But we haven’t.  

The second clue is that the egg-and-banana story has been repurposed from hoaxes found elsewhere. In late 2016 and early 2017, now-debunked reports surfaced online of a young man in India who had died after eating egg and “sweet” banana. A November 2016 article reported a similar death in the US state of California.  

Finally, it’s not scientifically possible for the combination of eggs and bananas to produce a deadly poison, food toxicologist Dr Helen Ayo-Omogie told Africa Check. She teaches at the Federal University of Technology Akure in Nigeria’s Ondo state.  

So is there any risk?

Another food toxicologist, Dr Olawale Otitoju, said there was no harm in eating eggs and bananas at the same time – unless they were contaminated by harmful substances. He teaches at the Federal University Wukari in Taraba state.

Otitoju did warn that a combination of bananas and uncooked eggs could be more difficult to digest. But it won’t kill you.

“If the egg is raw, its sulphur content may react with the carbohydrate in the banana and this may disrupt digestion. But it is not deadly at all,” Otitoju said. – Allwell Okpi (11/06/2018)

 

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