Category Archives: Chemistry

Tetrodotoxin: the poison behind the Japanese pufferfish scare

The accidental sale of potentially deadly fugu in Japan has sparked a health scare – and the same poison is now found in European species

Gamagori city in Japan was put on alert this week after toxic fish went on sale in a local supermarket. Pufferfish are considered a delicacy in Japan, often eaten raw as sashimi or cooked in soups. But if the fish are not carefully prepared they can be deadly.

The supermarket in Gamagori failed to remove the liver from the fish before putting them on sale, and unfortunately the liver is one of the organs that can harbour the potent neurotoxin tetrodotoxin. In an effort to recall the potentially poisonous fish sold, loudspeakers across the city have been warning citizens of the danger; at the time of writing, three of the five packs of fish sold had been traced.

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Source: gad