Rogue traders in Thailand have been selling the deadly meat of the puffer fish masked as salmon, Environmental Graffiti has learnt today. Eating the fish can cause paralysis, vomiting, heart failure and death. This is exactly what has happened. At least 15 people have died and 115 more have been hospitalised over a 3 year period.
The fish was officially banned at the beginning of 2002 due to the fact that its ovaries, liver and intestines contain the deadly poison tetrodotoxin. It is so powerful that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration say it can “produce rapid and violent death.” However, people across Asia still eat the fish and it is still widely available in large quantities at local markets and restaurants.
Narin Hiransuthikul of Bangkok’s Chulalonkorn University Hospital said that, “Some sellers dye the meat of puffer fish and make it look like salmon which is very dangerous.” Carving and gutting the fish requires a great level of skill and training, at least 10 years to be precise.
In Japan the puffer fish is named fugu – it is often eaten by thrill-seeking Japanese businessmen and aesthetes, who believe that the risk of being posing adds extra attractiveness to the dish.