Published: Wed, January 17, 2018
Health Care | By Gwendolyn Kim

Fugu Freakout: Don't Eat The Blowfish, Japanese Officers Warn

Fugu Freakout: Don't Eat The Blowfish, Japanese Officers Warn

Residents in a Japanese city are being urged not to eat fugu (pufferfish) meat after a potentially toxic batch was sold in error by a local supermarket.

Officials in Gamagōri, in central Japan, were left with no choice but to activate the city's emergency warning system after packets of the fugu fish were sold without having their livers removed.

A recorded message plays from loudspeakers around the city tells residents not to consume the fish.

Local official Koji Takayanagi told AFP: "We are calling for residents to avoid eating fugu, using Gamagori city's emergency wireless system".

Blowfish, known in Japan as fugu, is a highly prized delicacy both as sashimi or as an ingredient in soup, but the fish's liver, ovaries and skin contain the poison tetrodotoxin and the parts must be removed by specially trained and licensed preparers.

While three of the five packages sold have been found, two others have yet to be recovered.

"Eating fugu liver can paralyze motor nerves, and in a serious case cause respiratory arrest leading to death", regional officials said in a warning statement.

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Fugu is one of Japan's most expensive delicacies, despite almost a dozen people having suffered agonizing deaths from its toxic parts over the past decade.

"Three packages will be retrieved today, but we still don't know where the remaining two are".

Certain parts of pufferfish contain tetrodotoxin.

There is no antidote to the poison.

Between 2005 and 2015 in Japan there were 11 deaths as a result of eating the fish while 359 people were treated for fugu poisoning. Chefs also need a special permit to prepare and serve the fish at restaurants.

Several people in the country are killed each year because of the incorrect way or rashly trying to cook the fish.

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