Exotic fruit leaves British traveler's face blistered and burning

When Thomas Watson, a 28-year-old construction worker from Bedfordshire, decided to sample an exotic fruit during his travels in Mexico, he had no idea it would lead to a painful lesson in botany. Watson, an avid Instagram travel chronicler, was exploring a market in Campeche on the Yucatán Peninsula when he encountered a cashew apple. Intrigued, he took a bite—and instantly wished he hadn't.

"I thought I'd open it up – it felt like a passion fruit, and I bit into this sac which exploded straight away. Instantly it felt like fire, I could feel this fire going across my mouth," Watson told Southwest News Service.

Cashew apples contain cardol and anacardic acid, chemicals that can cause severe skin burns. The following day, he woke up to find his face looking as if it had been doused with acid—blistered, scabby, and incredibly painful.

It turns out that the fruit, which encases the cashew nut, is notorious for its caustic properties. Workers who shell cashews often receive severe burns on their hands and arms from handling the fruit.

Watson's ordeal didn't end with the initial burns. His fingers were discolored, and his lips felt like they had turned into baking paper for several days. It took a painful recovery period before he could peel off the damaged skin from his lips.

So, next time you encounter an exotic fruit on your travels, think twice before taking a bite. Watson's experience is a vivid reminder that sometimes, the allure of the unknown can come with a blistering price.

Previously: Trader Joe's delicious roasted salmonella recalled after testing positive for nuts