Toxic blowfish testicles put diners in hospital
A bumbling Japanese chef put seven customers in hospital by serving them toxic blowfish testicles.
Blowfish, although extremely poisonous if not prepared properly, is considered a delicacy in Japan and is prepared by specially-licensed chefs for consumption by thrill-seeking gourmets.
The seven men ordered grilled blowfish testicles at the restaurant in Tsuruoka city, but apparently the chef was not officially qualified to prepare them.
Shortly afterwards they developed limb paralysis and breathing trouble and started to lose consciousness - typical signs of blowfish poisoning - and were rushed to a hospital for treatment.
One 68-year-old remained in critical condition with respiratory failure and two others, aged 55 and 69, were in serious condition.
"It's scary. If you go to a decent-looking restaurant that serves fugu, you would assume a cook has a proper fugu license," a police spokesman said, using the Japanese term for blowfish.
The chef, who also owns the restaurant, is being questioned on suspicion of professional negligence.
Blowfish poison, called tetrodotoxin, is nearly 100 times more poisonous than potassium cyanide. It can cause death within an hour and a half after consumption.
Three people died and 44 others were made ill by blowfish poisoning in 2007 - most of them after catching the fish and cooking it at home.