A group of five men were hospitalized after eating fugu — or poisonous pufferfish — at a restaurant in Wakayama, Japan. According to the Wall Street Journal, the men — who were all in their 40s and 50s — "pleaded" with a restaurant owner to serve them fugu liver in a hot pot. The fish is known to contain deadly toxins in certain parts of its body including the liver. This is why Japanese food safety laws prohibit restaurants from serving pufferfish liver. The FDA's website adds that the toxins in pufferfish are "more deadly than the poison cyanide and can affect a person's central nervous system." However, the fish is considered to be a delicacy by many.
Approximately five hours after eating the liver, the group of men "began showing symptoms of nausea, dizziness, and difficulty breathing." A Japanese official notes that all five were taken to the hospital, but that they are recovering. The Guardian writes that the restaurant that served the pufferfish liver was shut down on Sunday for five days.
To serve pufferfish, chefs must undergo intensive training which includes a "stringent exam" and practical tests. Sometimes, the training is not enough. In 2011, the chef at Tokyo's Michelin starred restaurant Fugu Fukuji had his license to serve pufferfish taken away after a customer ended up hospitalized.
Eater Video: Eating Deadly Fugu Fish with Casey Neistat