How to prepare fugu, the deadly poisonous pufferfish of Japan's sushi lore

In this video we meet Yutaka Sasaki, a chef who prepares fugu, a fish that contains a lethal neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin.

Fugu contains lethal amounts of the poison tetrodotoxin in its organs, especially the liver, the ovaries, and the eyes, whereas skin is usually non-poisonous.[citation needed] The poison, a sodium channel blocker, paralyzes the muscles while the victim stays fully conscious (thus making the effects somewhat similar to those of the nerve agents Sarin and VX); the poisoning victim is unable to breathe, and eventually dies from asphyxiation. Fugu poison is 1200 times stronger than cyanide, and there is no known antidote.[citation needed] The standard treatment is to support the respiratory and circulatory systems until the poison is metabolized and excreted by the victim's body. (Wikipedia)

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  1. edked says:

    "Specific, intensive training in preparing these deadly little bastards so people aren't poisoned to death"? Sounds like a racket to me! I'll just quickly watch this video and do it myself!

  2. It's Maker Culture. I'm going to prepare fugu myself just so I'll finally have a chance to ride in the back of the steampunk ambulance I made.

  3. Oh it's totally true. We eat the northern puffer in the coastal north east. And it's in particular considered a delacacy on Long Island. It's delicious and completely safe. These fish bioaccumulate the toxins from their diet. The algae coral or whatever (i don't recall) that produces tetrodotoxin is far, far less common in colder waters, and Atlantic waters than in warmer or Pacific. Likewise different species accumulate it differently, at different levels, and in different tissues.

    So the blow fish we eat here are pretty much non toxic. You don't eat the skin, or innards (especially the liver and swim bladder). They won't kill you, but they're unpalatable and supposedly can make you a bit sick. But they can't kill you, and you never hear about anyone being harmed.

    You can also farm fugu with limited access to the dietary sources for the toxin to produce safe fish. But it's apparently not popular because the tingly numbness from trace amounts of toxin in the flesh is a large part of why they're considered worth eating.

  4. I think I'll stick with the 60-year-old fugu master, thanks.

    Really? 60-year old fugu master tastes gamy.

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