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World's Most Dangerous Foods

Fugu, Death, Japan

Cephas Picture Library/Alamy

Fugu, Japan

Threat: Death

The fugu, also known as the puffer fish or blowfish, can kill you within hours if not prepared properly, by removing the liver and reproductive organs. Learning how to make it involves an apprenticeship of up to three years. The largest wholesale market for fugu in Japan is in Shimonoseki, and these days you can even buy it in supermarkets; just be sure to look for paperwork attesting to its safety. The Four Seasons, Mumbai just debuted its fugu-trained chef, who serves it either grilled or as sushi. Some Japanese producers, meanwhile, have now bred nontoxic fugu, which some might argue takes the fun out of it.

Prognosis: Not great. A poorly prepared fugu contains the poison tetrodotoxin, which paralyzes your muscles and eventually causes asphyxiation. There is no antidote, but victims can survive if they are assisted with respiration until the poison wears off. If you can make it through the first 24 hours, you’re likely out of the woods.


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