One of the recent rumours that were spreading in Kerala was the death of a student who had Prawns and lime juice making it poisonous! The hoax mongers say that the person who consumed prawns and lime juice collapsed and died within an hour!
Is there truth in this?
For starters – there is no truth in this and it is nothing other than a hoax that was publicized by none other than the “Facebook & WhatsApp university alumni“
If lemon + prawn were to be so poisonous, almost everyone who eats from the Barbeque Nation across India should die!
For eons, lemon is used to add flavor and also to marinate meat and fish across many countries across the world. The costal Keralites were not any different.
However, prawns can cause shellfish allergy for those who are intolerant to shellfish and this can be quite lethal sometimes. This allergy is the body’s reaction to certain kinds of protein seen in shellfish such as prawns, crabs, shrimp, lobster, etc.
This allergic reaction, also know as anaphylaxis is highly dangerous wherein the blood pressure drops abruptly, the throat & windpipe swells and the person loses consciousness. Immediate medical attention is extremely important in such a case. Anti-histamine medication such as Benadryl or an epinephrine injection may be needed in such a case.
Point to note :- This allergic reaction has nothing to do with lime-juice/lemon
Read more on shellfish allergy.
Yet another rumor is the arsenic in prawns changing to highly poisonous arsenic trioxide when mixed with lemon or Vit-C compounds.
Fish and shellfish, particularly, has arsenic content. However, the type of arsenic seen in fish is the stable organic arsenobetaine that is not dangerous to the human body and is expelled through urine without much harm. Further, tthe organic arsenic content in prawns is too less, that one needs to eat nearly 100 kg of prawns to reach the arsenic level that is lethal to the human body
In a nutshell: go ahead and enjoy your prawns with lemon squeezed in or even with a lime juice.