Fugu, the Japanese pufferfish, is notorious for its lethal poison. Its liver and other organs contain tetrodotoxin which can paralyse muscles and leave victims awake but unable to breathe. The dangerous dish was even featured in an episode of The Simpsons.
In Japan, pufferfish has been eaten for centuries but today only trained chefs are allowed to prepare the dish. Serving the liver, the most poisonous and sought-after part, has been illegal since 1984.
Skilled chefs slice the fugu while it is still alive. Eating the fish while it is still squirming is considered a delicacy, as is consuming a small amount of the heady poison.
Banned: In the EU
A 2004 regulation by the European Parliament banned poisonous fish, stating “muscle-paralysing toxins must not be placed on the market”.
A handful of restaurants in the US are licensed to serve the dangerous delicacy, including 12 in New York. All fugu served in the US has its poisonous organs removed in Japan before export.