Poisonous Blowfish Were Accidentally Sold at a Japanese Supermarket

One fish, two fish, red fish… deadly fish?

The blowfish is a delicacy in many Asian countries. 

Some risky foods are served to thrill the adventurous palate — but this supermarket took a deeper dive into deadly cuisine than anyone had intended. In the city of Gamagori, in central Japan, police officials are warning shoppers to stay far away from dangerous fillets of poisonous fish that were accidentally sold to customers.

The blowfish, called fugu in Japan, is often served as a delicacy in Asian cuisine. Prepared correctly, the fish is nontoxic and reportedly delicious — though after this debacle, we’re not trying it anytime soon. It’s served as sashimi and as a flavorful ingredient in soup.

This particular market, however, inadvertently sold five packages of fugu fish without removing the liver, which can contain a deadly neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin. This particular breed of poison is more dangerous than cyanide — just a small dose of the poison ingested from a blowfish can cause complete loss of sensation and paralysis of voluntary muscles. The effect could potentially paralyze the diaphragm and cause immediate death due to respiratory failure.

To make matters worse, there is no known antidote.

The toxin is contained in the skin, ovaries, and liver of the fish, all of which are typically removed by trained and licensed professionals before packaging.

Three of the deadly packages have been recovered and detained by Japanese police — but two of them are still at large.


Until the poisonous packages are discovered, Japanese police are advising all residents to steer clear of any and all fugu fish, no matter how carefully prepared. This fish isn’t the only dangerous food sold at supermarkets — click here to discover 15 more foods that could kill you.