United States

Man Suffers Severe Burns After Biting THIS Exotic Fruit In Mexico

A UK tourist, Thomas Harold Watson, 28, sustained third-degree burns across his face after biting into a cashew apple during a visit to Campeche, Mexico.

Representative image

A UK tourist’s exotic fruit experience in Mexico turned into a painful incident when he sustained third-degree burns across his face after biting into a cashew apple.

“I could not believe the pain just from biting into one case,” Thomas Harold Watson, 28, told Southwest News Service. The incident occurred on May 1 while he was sightseeing in Campeche, in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Watson, a construction worker from Bedfordshire, was strolling through a local market when he came across a stand selling cashew apples, the fruit that encases the well-known cashew nut.

Known for sharing photos of his travel experiences on Instagram, Watson had heard that the fruit was edible and decided to give it a try. “You can eat the cashew apple fruit, it’s meant to be a bit bitter,” Watson explained. “I’d heard about it but never tried it in the flesh, so I bought it, went for a walk and started eating a few different fruits.”

However, his curiosity led to a painful mistake. “I thought I’d open it up – it felt like a passion fruit, and I bit into this sac which exploded straight away,” Watson recalled. “Instantly it felt like fire, I could feel this fire going across my mouth.”

The next morning, Watson woke up to find his face completely burnt and “scabby,” resembling a severe acid burn. Viral photos show the extent of his injuries, with his lips appearing to have been dissolved. “It felt like my lip had gone like baking paper for three or four days,” he said, describing his Freddy Krueger-esque affliction. His hands were also discolored from the exposure.

Watson later discovered that the cashew fruit contains cardol and anacardic acid, substances that can cause severe blisters upon contact with skin. He learned about these hazards through a Google search, which revealed that workers who shell cashews can suffer similar severe burns to their hands and arms.

Despite the severity of his injuries, Watson chose not to seek medical attention, fearing the cost of a hospital visit. The recovery process has been long and painful. “A couple of days ago I was able to peel off my whole lip, it was a couple of inches wide,” he said. “They’re still quite burnt up and not great but way better than they were.”

Reflecting on his painful experience, Watson advises fellow tourists to research local foods before trying them. “It’s always good to eat local foods but I guess it’s also good to have a bit of knowledge about them,” he cautioned.