Japanese Chef Nearly Dies After Eating Liver of the Deadly Blowfish

A Japanese chef nearly died after snacking on the liver of the deadly fugu or blowfish, The Asahi Shimbun reported Friday.

The cook, said to be in his 30s, is licensed to prepare the deadly fish but became seriously ill after taking a bite of steamed liver he had prepared during a practice session on Oct. 11, Tokyo officials told the Asahi.

Liver, ovaries and other fugu organs contain the deadly chemical tetrodotoxin. The chef initially lost consciousness, but has awakened and is recovering. Tetrodotoxin is a bacteria also found in pufferfish, porcupinefish, ocean sunfish or mola, triggerfish and some species of octopus and newt. The toxin can kill its victims within 4-6 hours if not caught early. Other side effects include paralysis, convulsions and low blood pressure.

Although there is an ordinance designed to punish chef's for improper handling of fugu, he is unlikely to be disciplined because the law does not apply to harm caused to the cooks themselves, officials said.

Click here to read more on this story from The Asahi Shimbun.