It depends on whether the toe is:
Raw. (Diseases possible, but unlikely. Diseases would be bacterial, such as staph or strep. Chance of catching staph from an alcoholic drink with a toe floating around in it: very low.) You would not get a prion disease (such as CJD or mad cow) from a raw toe floating in your beer. You have to consume brain to get a prion disease. And eating one brain once probably isn’t enough exposure. So having a dead man’s toenail bump up against your lip isn’t going to do anything to your brain… heh, heh, heh.
Preserved in alcohol. You are pretty safe.
Cooked. You are very safe.
Preserved in formaldehyde. You are going to get sick from the formaldehyde. But not fatally sick, and you’ll be better eventually.
Spoiled. Okay, now you can catch food poisoning. That would be one hell of an initiation rite. Only the bar wouldn’t survive the investigation, so it wouldn’t still be open, so this makes it an urban legend.
Put it this way. If I said, “There’s a bar in Iowa where they put a fresh piece of steak in your beer as an initiation rite,” what diseases would you expect to catch from a piece of meat? Raw, cooked, or alcohol-preserved, a piece of meat is not going to hurt you by bumping up against your lip unless it has gone bad. And we humans are meat. Our toes are bone and meat. And a little skin, which is probably the most dangerous part (colonized with bacteria). But we’re designed to be pretty well immune to the germs on our digits if our bodies are working the way they’re intended. After all, most of us put our fingers in our mouths some of the time.
I say go ahead and get initiated. You’re safe.
heh, heh, heh, heh…