Is Casu Marzu [Cheese] Dangerous?
Casu Marzu has been declared illegal and not in compliance with EU hygienic standards. It is banned by Italian health laws and not sold in shops. In addition to numerous anecdotal reports of allergic reaction (including burning, crawling skin sensations that last for days), there is increasing concern of risk for enteric myiasis, or intestinal larval infection.
Once ingested, it’s possible for the Piophila casei larvae to pass through the human stomach without dying (sometimes stomach acids aren’t enough to kill them). In that case, the maggots may take up residency in the intestines for some time. They can cause serious lesions and bore through intestinal walls, resulting in abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and bloody diarrhoea.
Despite the health warnings, people in Sardinia say they’ve been eating Casu Marzu for hundreds of years without any problem. In fact, the Italian cheese is often brought out for special occasions like birthdays, bachelor parties, and weddings. According to folklore, Casu Marzu is even an aphrodisiac.”