Seven Japanese poisoned by blowfish 'nads
Gourmet fugu experience ends in hospital
Seven Japanese gourmets in the northern city of Tsuruoka required hospital treatment after ill-advisedly ordering grilled blowfish testicles at a restaurant not licensed to serve potentially-fatal fugu, as the piscine delicacy is known locally.
Police official Yoshihito Iwase explained to AP that the men tucked into said 'nads and sashimi (sliced raw seafood) and quickly developed "limb paralysis and breathing trouble and started to lose consciousness". Cue medical intervention, and three of the customers were today still hospitalised - one 68-year-old in a critical condition with respiratory failure and two others aged 55 and 69 described as "serious".
The unnamed restaurant's owner, who was also the chef, had "no license to serve blowfish and was being questioned on suspicion of professional negligence", Iwase said.
He added: "It's scary. If you go to a decent-looking restaurant that serves fugu, you would assume a cook has a proper fugu license."
Blowfish, aka pufferfish, of the order Tetraodontiformes, commonly contain high levels of the toxin tetrodotoxin* in their gonads, intestines, liver, and skin, although the flesh is often relatively safe. The poison, known to its chums as anhydrotetrodotoxin 4-epitetrodotoxin, initially provokes "a slight numbness of the lips and tongue" followed by increasing paralysis, possible convulsions and cardiac arrhythmia and death usually within 4-6 hours, as the US Food and Drug Administration delightfully explains.
Accordingly, extreme care must be taken in preparing the fish for human consumption, ensuring that the unpalatable organs are removed. However, despite Japan's blowfish licensing regime, three people died and 44 others fell ill from blowfish poisoning in 2007, according to the Health Ministry. ®
*The FDA elaborates that tetrodotoxin is also found in "the California newt, parrotfish, frogs of the genus Atelopus, the blue-ringed octopus, starfish, angelfish, and xanthid crabs". The agency notes "at least one report of a fatal episode when an individual swallowed a California newt", but does not elaborate on how this unfortunate incident occurred.
Mild facial paralysis?
I've felt the same effect often enough - after dental surgery, after a night at the boozer, and no need to go to Japan and risk my life eating over-priced undercooked fish.
My thrills are cheap.
I saw a photo of the unfortunate policeman in a book once. Dying in a "septic ward" he was. Poor chap.
I read somewhere that Flemming had chucked out the petri dish with the penicillin because nothing had happened. Florey came along to throw the stuff away (part of his job) and found the stuff was working. So he claims to have discovered it. Sounds a bit tenuous, really. I mean, it was Flemming who actually thought to use the culture in the first place.
I guess it all depends on whose memoirs you read.
P.S. Love the pseudonym!
Thumbs up because I wanted to check out the jaggy outline
>>I can imagine the survival situation you were in... "damn, stranded in Tokyo, all there is to eat is Fugu".
Picky picky, I said "if you are planning to eat something that you are unsure of the safety of it", the whole point of the article was that the poisonees were sure of the safety (as everybody else who eats Fugu would normally be), besides, I didn't order it and I wasn't told what it was before I ate it, probably another reason why I'm non-plused about Fugu.
It's not like someone with a peanut allergy playing russian roulette with a bag of revels (when they used to have peanuts in them that is... sigh)