Deadly blowfish guts sold at grocery; Japanese city officials send emergency warning

A potentially deadly mistake has left officials in a Japanese city urging residents to avoid eating blowfish.

Officials of Gamagori, in the Aichi Prefecture along the coastline of central Japan, warned residents to toss fugu, known as blowfish or pufferfish, bought at a local supermarket after parts of the fish containing deadly toxins were sold, Japanese Times reported.

Five packages with the fish’s liver, which contains the potentially lethal poison tetrodotoxin, still attached were sold at the supermarket. Three packages were found, but the rest are still missing. Officials broadcasted the warning through the city’s loudspeakers.

“We are calling for residents to avoid eating fugu [by] using Gamagori city’s emergency wireless system,” local official Koji Takayanagi said on Tuesday.

“Eating fugu liver can paralyze motor nerves, and in a serious case cause respiratory arrest leading to death,” the warning stated.

Blowfish is one of the winter delicacies served in Japan. It’s also one of the most expensive fish sold in the country and is often eaten sashimi style or in a hot pot.

The fish’s skin, intestines, ovaries and livers all contain poison that can kill people if the seafood isn’t prepared properly, according to Japan Times. Chefs also need a special permit to prepare and serve the fish at restaurants.

Several people are killed each year in Japan from blowfish poisoning. Dozens of more people also suffer side effects.