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article imageBlowfish can be deadly but Japan set to relax the rules for chefs

By KJ Mullins     Apr 4, 2012 in Food
Tokyo - In Japan diners can play a gun of culinary Russian roulette when they order a course of blowfish. The poison laying in the organs of the fish can kill a man in minutes. Chefs train to make sure that their patrons live to tell the tale.
Blowfish is a delicacy in Japan, with fans and celebs taking a chance with their lives and a huge chunk out of their wallets for a perfectly prepared dining experience. Before laws were put in place in Tokyo the death rate from eating fugu prepared by untrained chefs was much higher with hundreds dying a year.
Blowfish, as known as Fugu, is one of them most deadly fish in the world carrying the poison tetrodotoxin in its organs. A nick of the toxic parts of the fish will bring deadly contamination to the meat. For over 60 years the laws in Tokyo allow only chefs that have made it through rigorous training with a two- or three-year apprenticeship are allowed to deal with the fish. That will be changing in October when the laws will become more lax, allowing for anyone to handle the deadly fish and local chefs are fuming. They know that one nick of the organs can kill which has them questioning the government's decision.
Japan is changing the law to cut prices. In other areas of the nation laws dealing with Fugu are relaxed.
In Tokyo the cost of fugu is about 10,000 yen.
If a person eats a contaminated piece of fugu can experience dizziness, numbness of the mouth and lips, weakness, nausea, diarrhea, sweating, breathing trouble, cramps, blue lips, intense itchiness, vomiting, and dilated pupils. In the worst case their muscles become paralyzed while they remain fully conscious. The person is unable to breathe and chokes to death. With no known antidote the only chance for survival is to have medical life support machines in place until the poison is excreted by the body.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that 60 percent of those who succumb to fugu poisoning have a rapid and violent death.
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