Japan: 7 blowfish diners sent to hospital with suspected food poisoning

Source of Article:  http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/national/news/20090127p2a00m0na012000c.html


TSURUOKA, Yamagata -- Seven men were rushed to hospital Monday night after eating fugu, or blowfish, prepared by an inexperienced restaurant owner.

The men entered the Kibunya fresh seafood restaurant in Tsuruoka, Yamagata Prefecture, at around 7 p.m., and began complaining of a pins-and-needles sensation about one hour later. Two of the men are now in serious condition. Asakichi Sato, 68, is unconscious, and Koji Igarashi, 55, has dilated pupils and is in a dazed state. The other five men, aged 61-69, have light symptoms.

According to the 65-year-old restaurant owner, investigators at Tsuruoka Police Station believe there is a high probability the men were poisoned by the blowfish, which contains the neurotoxin tetrodotoxin. Officers have searched the restaurant on suspicions of professional negligence causing injury and for violations of the Food Hygiene Law.

The restaurant owner said that he prepared blowfish sashimi and lightly grilled soft roe for the men.

"I don't have a blowfish chef's license. This was the first time I had served it raw," he said. "I've never eaten it before myself, but I heard it was good, so I served it."





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