Awful Things

Some Toxic Puffer Fish Liver Sent 5 People to the Hospital

Leave this in the water.
Leave this in the water. Photo: Eyal Warshavsky/Corbis

A group of dining companions paid the price for eating fugu, The Wall Street Journal reports. This time, it’s five middle-aged men in Japan who apparently pressured a restaurant into serving them a hot pot of the fish’s liver, which is particularly toxic.

As you may know, puffer fish — also known as fugu — is so poisonous that Japanese chefs who want to serve it — lawfully, at least — are required to study for three years and pass an exam. Even still, they can’t legally serve the liver, as it can be a major storehouse of deadly neurotoxin. Naturally, that only encourages thrill-seekers more: One report says the toxin can cause a desirable tingling sensation on the lips. The affected gentlemen, however, got more than they bargained for after they reportedly asked the restaurant’s owner to whip up the off-menu specialty.

Five hours later, according to the Journal, the men started feeling nauseous and dizzy and had trouble breathing. They were rushed to the hospital, and thankfully, officials say all five are recovering, a much better stroke of luck than what happened with the 11 family members in Brazil who were permanently paralyzed last fall. Even still, the Tokyo restaurant that served the men the tainted liver has been shut down for five days.

[WSJ, Guardian]

Some Toxic Puffer Fish Liver Sent 5 People to the Hospital