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August 23, 2007

Poisonous Puffer Salmon

I have a really close friend vacationing in Thailand right now so I was kinda freaked out to see this little article on MSNBC. Evidently there have been 15 deaths and over a hundred reports of illness there in the past three years from folks eating puffer fish. The guts of the puffer fish contain tetrodotoxin, a poison the FDA says can “produce rapid and violent death.”

The sensational news isn’t even the death or illness but that vendors have been selling the poisonous puffer fish as salmon – even dying the meat to make it more convincing. I shudder at the thought of my friend traveling in Thailand by herself amidst such feckless fishmongery.

Read this strangely-worded quote about puffer fish while I get my angst in check…

The fish is called fugu in Japan, where it is consumed by thrill-seeking Japanese gourmets for whom the risk of poisoning adds piquancy.

Hey, good news: my friend just chatted me while I was writing this. I told her about the salmon scam and now I can stop worrying. Crazy coincidence though – her ears must have been burning or something. I guess all things considered I prefer burning ears to rapid and violent death, piquancy notwithstanding.