Health officials in Zurich, Switzerland, have banned chef Ismail Ertekin’s latest creation: topping pizzas with small amounts of poisons from spiders, scorpions, and snakes.
The chef/restaurateur was previously known for using edible 24-karat gold flakes on his pizzas, claiming that the shiny stuff offered real health benefits.
Although these same venoms are sometimes used in homeopathic remedies, one health official said, "Medicinal products are not food stuffs and are not allowed to be an ingredient in food. Therefore we had to ban the pizzas."
The pizzas were especially popular with arachnophobes and those afraid of snakes, Ertekin said. Customers would use the pizzas as a way to conquer their fears.
Even after the ban, Ertekin insisted that his creation was harmless. "Preservatives in foods are much more damaging than my poison pizzas," he claimed. But the health officials were not easily convinced, ordering Ertekin to remove the poison pies from the menu.