Pufferfish is considered a delicacy in Tokyo, Japan, but chefs must undergo intensive training before being permitted to prepare the fish.
An elderly couple tragically passed away after they mistakenly purchased and ate poisonous pufferfish in Malaysia. On March 25, Ng Chuan Sing, 84, and his wife Lim Siew Guan, 83, bought the fish from a vendor they'd known for quite some time, according to CNN's conversation with authorities in Johor, Malaysia. Ng Ai Lee, their daughter, shared that her parents had bought fish from the same fisherman "for many years so my father did not think twice about it," The Star reported.
"He would not have knowingly bought something so deadly to eat and put their lives in danger," she added.
Elderly couple dies after eating poisonous pufferfish for lunch - National | https://t.co/0dhfnE3pJu https://t.co/3ECZPfQtjV— 𝚂𝚎á𝚗 𝙾’𝚂𝚑𝚎𝚊 Global News (@ConsumerSOS) April 10, 2023
Lim Siuw Gan grilled the fish for herself and her husband the day they bought it. However, she soon began shaking and had difficulty breathing. Ng Chuan experienced identical sensations an hour later. While Lim died the same day the pair ate the fish, Ng Chuan was in a coma for eight days before passing away, according to their daughter Ng Ai Lee.
The daughter stated that she and her brother rushed as soon as they heard, and attempted to see their parents but were unable to do so before their mother died. Her death was caused by food poisoning with neurological manifestations such as respiratory failure and an abnormal heart rate. Malaysia's Health Department is awaiting the results of the couple's death lab reports, which might take two to three weeks.
Pufferfish, also known as "fugu," is considered a delicacy and is most typically served at high-end restaurants in Tokyo, Japan, but chefs must undergo intensive training before being permitted to prepare the fish. Similar laws do not exist in Malaysia, according to Johor Health and Unity Committee official, Ling Tian Soon. However, Malaysia does prohibit the sale of poisonous and harmful food like pufferfish meat.
Their organs, skin, blood, and bones can all contain significant doses of tetrodotoxin, a poison with no known antidote, per PEOPLE. "We urge the public to be careful when choosing their food, especially if it has known risks," Ling said in a statement.
This upsetting story from Malaysia of an elderly couple who died after unknowingly cooking and eating poisonous pufferfish @CNN: "Once pufferfish are cleaned and sold, it is impossible to know -- there needs to be more awareness."https://t.co/yfeZ1z0QEx— Heather Chen (@heatherchen_) April 10, 2023
“Those responsible for their deaths should be held accountable under the law and I hope the authorities will speed up investigations,” the grieving daughter said. “I also hope the Malaysian government will beef up enforcement and help to raise public awareness on pufferfish poisoning to prevent such incidents from happening again.”
Ling also added, "We will also need to discuss with the Health Ministry and experts from universities on whether the existing Acts are sufficient for us to charge the supplier of the fish."
Elderly couple dies after eating poisonous pufferfish https://t.co/Vd0bKEVXJI pic.twitter.com/SlegJ9eN2P— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) April 11, 2023
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