Food Taster Question

I just read an interesting article about one of Hitler’s food tasters. They would force her to eat food intended for Hitler, and then wait an hour to see what happened. If she was still alive they would send the food to Hitler.

My question is this. If someone had tried to poison Hitler they would have to had to use a poison that took at least an hour before the person showed any signs of illness. Presumably, such a poison didn’t exist in the 1940’s, but could a delayed poison be concocted today, or would it be impossible given how effective the stomach is at breaking down whatever you ingest? For now, let’s exclude radioactive elements from this thought experiment.

Amanita phalloides would do it. According to wikipedia it was the probable or certain cause of death of at least three heads of state, Roman Emperor Claudius in AD 54 and Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI in 1740 and Pope Clement VII in 1534. It’s basically the perfect assassination food – common, tasty, slow-acting, fatal even in small amounts.

Adolf must have been okay with room temperature food.

Or did after the taster took her bite, they gave it back to the cook to heat up. :smack:

Depends where they suspected poison to be added… you’d think it would be most likely during the prep/cooking/serving phase rather than say a delivery driver poisoning an entire sac of potatoes hopefully destined for that particular kitchen.

If poisoning is suspected in the kitchen… does the same person do all the prep, cooking, serving, reheating, etc? I’d think that there would still be a big risk that the servant could simply slip in the poison after the tester OKed it on the way to get reheated or served in the important person’s room. Or maybe the cook prepares it normally, then poisons it after it’s sent back to be reheated to the important person.

You’d think once the taster tested the food it would go directly to the important person rather than risk a bunch more people handling it behind closed doors. In that case it would kind of suck to have hour-old ice cream cake or cold chicken with a big slobbery bite taken out that’s been sitting on the table drying out. Would really suck drinking someone elses backwashed wine or tap water.

Seems to me that the entire concept of having a food taster was more an exercise in stupidity than anything of practical benefit. I can’t see that anyone really believed that it was of any practical benefit.

Hitler was a lunatic, and his minions pandered to him. This food tasting was just one manifestation of that.

I imagine that the job of food taster was probably a pretty safe career move.

Made even easier in that context because a close relative of A phalloides is Amanita caesaria - a highly regarded edible mushroom, common in the mediterranean region.
Of course, A phalloides is pretty potent, so it would not be all that hard to conceal a lethal dose in even a non mushroomy dish.

You would have thought that careful vetting of staff, and close supervision of the process would be a far better prevention method.

Paracetamol (acetaminophen) might be useful. It wouldn’t directly poison you, but if you overwhelm the liver, it will become damaged (paracetamol will be broken down into other chemicals, one of which harms the liver) and that may kill you a few days later. By the time you notice anything, it may be too late to treat without a liver transplant, and they didn’t exist until 1963.