Almost everyone have heard about fugu, and how fugu and fugu liver is considered a delicatessen in Japan. In case you haven’t I can tell you that Fugu is a type of pufferfish and if it isn’t processed correctly it can kill you due to being poisonous. However now there is an alternative. Farmed fugu that is poison free and that doesn’t have to be processed by a specialist. This is done by giving them tetrodotoxin-laden bacteria free food without which the fish liver don’t turn toxic. About 7000 fish fed this way have been tested and all have been poison free. Only 1 of 3 wild caught puffers contain enough poison to kill. This has started an intense debate in Japan on whether or not to remove the restrictions that ban the trade and sales of fugu liver and that thereby restricts the entire fugu trade as it causes restrictions on who can process the fish and remove the livers. The farmers of poison free fugu say that it is safe and that the restrictions should be lifted for farmed fugu liver. Other like the vice president of the National Fugu Association thinks that fugu liver is always dangerous and that not enough is know to remove the restrictions. Also involved in the fight are large business organizations like Shimonoseki Fugu Association that controls large section of the fugu trade but that stands to lose a large share of their business if the restrictions are lifted. Other Japanese claims that it isn’t really the delicatessen they love if it can’t kill you and that a part of the trill is that the fugu sometimes contains a little toxin that can numb your lips even if cooked correctly.

The outcome of this is unknown and how much impact it really will have can be discussed either way as Fugu liver are widely sold and the authorities turn a blind eye to this. The item is seldom on the menu but is sold openly.

A few Japanese die each year from eating Fugu.

90% of the fugu consumed is farmed. The farming of fugu has increased quickly as the natural stocks are being depleted.

Source. NYTimes.com