Authorities in the central Japanese city of Gamagori activated an emergency warning system Tuesday in a bid to prevent residents eating parts of potentially deadly pufferfish that were mistakenly placed on supermarket shelves.
Pufferfish, or fugu, is an expensive delicacy often served in the form of paper-thin sashimi slices. But the fish’s skin, intestines, ovaries, and liver contain the poison tetrodotoxin, which is 1,200 times deadlier than cyanide. The five packets of fugu that triggered the alarm in Gamagori were sold with their livers still in place, Agence France-Presse reports.
Local official Koji Takayanagi told AFP that a warning not to eat locally purchased fugu had sounded over speakers installed citywide using Gamagori’s “emergency wireless system.”
That warning had been partially successful, Takayanagi said: “Three packages will be retrieved today, but we still don’t know where the remaining two are.”
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Incorrectly prepared fugu kills several people each year in Japan and a special permit is required for chefs who want to prepare it. About 40 kinds of fugu are caught in the country and the part of the fish that contains deadly poison varies between varieties.