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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
February 24, 2015

Toxic Puffer Fish Species Illegally Imported to United States

JAMA. 2015;313(8):787. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.384

Puffer fish may be a delicacy in Asian countries, but 4 people in Minnesota didn’t have a pleasant gustatory experience after buying the dried fish from a street vendor during a visit to New York City. Instead of eating Japanese puffer fish (Takifugu rubripes)—the only species that can legally be imported into the United States—a brother and sister in their early 30s and 2 friends ate Lagocephalus lunaris, an Indo-Pacific species of puffer fish that is never safe to consume because of its naturally high levels of potentially deadly tetrodotoxin.

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