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Omnivore Food Blog By Suzanne Podhaizer

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May 25, 2007

Beware the monkfish!

Remember the Simpson's episode -- One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish from season 2 -- in which Homer chowed down on a piece of poisonous sashimi and was later told he had only 24 hours to live? Something similar recently happened to a couple of people in Chicago. Except that unlike Homer, they consumed the seafood in a soup. And they had no idea what they were eating.

It's the most recent in a string of discomforting news about food -- including the infamous wheat gluten used in pet food -- imported from China. It seems that a few boxes labeled "monkfish" may actually have contained some type of poisonous "pufferfish" instead.

The FDA has confirmed that the fish contained tetrodotoxin, the substance that makes creatures in the Tetraodontidae family (yep, like pufferfish) dangerous to humans. The affected seafood was sold in Chicago, Illinois and Hawaii, so we're probably safe up here in the Northeast.  But if for some reason you find a box of fish in your fridge that reads, "“MONK FISH GUTTED AND HEAD-OFF PRODUCT OF CHINA." and “Ingredients: Monk fish; Imported by: Hong Chang Corp., Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670; Product of China (P.R.C.),” don't eat it!

The MSNBC article is called "Two Sick in Suspected Pufferfish Poisoning."   


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Here's a link to a terrifying story about Chinese food imports that I heard this morning on NPR: As Imports Increase, A Tense Dependence on China.

Makes that localvore movement look awfullyattractive.

Mistress Maeve

Thanks for the tip, Suzanne. I'll be sure to check my boxes of fish.



Cathy -- that article is scary indeed. Localvoreness (or is it localvorocity?) is looking better every day.

Mistress -- Yep, count on me to protect my friends from imminent culinary danger!!

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