The deceased victim’s name from the article is Hung. : “Poisonous Pufferfish Kills One in Taiwan; FDA Identifies Species and Warns of Fatal Toxicity”

Death – Obituary – Accident and Crime News : Taipei, Dec. 6 (CNA) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Wednesday that the poisonous pufferfish responsible for a recent tragedy in Nantou County has been identified as an inedible lunartail puffer. This deadly species contains high levels of tetrodotoxin (TTX) in its skin, flesh, and organs, making it lethal if consumed. The FDA warns that just two pieces of this fish prepared as sashimi can be fatal.

The incident occurred when a restaurant owner named Hung invited eight neighbors over for a meal on November 25 in the mountain town of Cingjing. Pufferfish was on the menu, with Hung consuming it as sashimi, and the guests having it in soup. Tragically, Hung was found dead the following morning, while the eight guests experienced non-life-threatening symptoms and were promptly taken to the hospital.

Deputy Chief of the FDA, Lin Chin-fu, revealed that DNA testing had confirmed the fish to be a lunartail puffer, an inedible variety easily mistaken for edible species within the same genus when prepared correctly. The FDA’s Research and Analysis Division head, Wang Te-yuan, disclosed that the sashimi contained 134.30 milligrams per kilogram of TTX, while the fish and broth in the soup contained 33.48 mg/kg and 31.86 mg/kg, respectively. Comparatively, Japan’s regulatory limit for TTX in pufferfish is 2 mg/kg.

The Keelung City Health Bureau, in the days following the incident, identified the individual who caught the pufferfish and gave it to Hung. The man, whose identity remains undisclosed, claimed to have caught the fish near Keelung’s Bisha Fishing Harbor and sent it to Hung in a frozen package. He said that Hung often boasted about his ability to safely prepare pufferfish.

The FDA reiterated that under the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation, selling, storing, packing, or gifting toxic food products is subject to a fine ranging from NT$60,000 to NT$200 million (US$1,905 to US$6.35 million). In cases where toxic food leads to severe injury or death, the offender can face up to 7 years in prison and a fine of up to NT$80 million.

According to FDA records, Taiwan has witnessed four cases of pufferfish poisoning in the past decade, resulting in one fatality and 17 hospitalizations. In contrast, Japan, where pufferfish is more commonly consumed and chefs require licenses to prepare it, has reported 180 cases of poisoning, resulting in five deaths and 246 hospitalizations, according to the Tokyo Bureau of Health.

(By Shen Pei-yao and Matthew Mazzetta)

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