Is eating puffer fish really worth risking your life over? Two children in the Philippines were recently killed from eating it.
How exactly the children aged 7 and 6 came to ingest the toxins of the puffer fish were not immediately disclosed. It was reportedly served at dinner, but whether they got their hands on a section they weren’t supposed or the toxins were just not removed properly was not clear.
News of the death of two children and another who had fallen ill from eating the dangerous puffer fish spread throughout the world this week. While the fish is known to contain toxins more poisonous than cyanide, deaths from eating pufferfish are still rare. Mainly that’s because chefs that prepare the fish must be well trained and extremely careful.
In Japan the fish is a delicacy called fugu. In the Phillipines they call it butete or tikong. The boys were said to have suffered from stomach aches and vomiting before dying. Another boy experiencing similar symptoms was taken to the hospital and was recovering, according to the Bicol Standard.
Parts of leftover fish, which was reportedly served as part of their dinner, was taken to a lab for testing. The toxins of a puffer fish are said to be 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide and capable of killing 30 adults with no known antidote.
Last year a group of Japanese fishermen fell ill after eating puffer fish liver, one of the most toxic parts of the fish. Some diners consider it thrilling to eat a poisonous fish. It can lead to tingling on the taste buds, but that’s just the start.
In 2014, a Brazilian family of 11 were hospitalized after eating puffer fish completely unaware of its toxic nature. They experienced near immediate vomiting and paralyses of their face, arms and limbs just seconds after taking a bite.
Serving puffer fish is not for the faint of heart either. In 2011, a two star Michelin chef was suspended after nearing killing his diners with puffer fish.