Victims of the food poisoning incident in Alavanyo in the Volta Region clearly knew that the fish they consumed that resulted in deaths and other health conditions is not meant to be eaten, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has said.
The Margret Marquart Catholic Hospital in Kpando, Volta Region has recorded 4 deaths with diagnoses of food poisoning. More than 10 others are still on admission receiving treatment.
This is after it emerged that they ate a type of fish known as “Pufferfish”, which is highly poisonous.
The victims are said to have reported to the hospital complaining of stomach upset after they consumped fish they bought from the market.
On Wednesday August 16, the hospital recorded 4 similar cases with same history from Torkor, a fishing community in Volta region.
The Public Relations Officer of the FDA, James Lartey in an interview on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa FM Friday said the FDA is yet to establish why the residents despite their knowledge of the poisonous nature of the fish, still went ahead and consumed it.
“Our officer in the area indicated that when they went round speaking to the market women and indegenes, they all established that it is a fish they are aware should not be consumed, so it is not like the indegens are not aware…they’re aware that it is not supposed to be consumed.”
Mr James Lartey added that there will be further investigation into the incident to find out why the residents having known the present danger inherent in consuming the fish, threw caution to the wind and and actually ate the fish.
FACTS ABOUT PUFFERFISH
Biologists think pufferfish, also known as blowfish, developed their famous “inflatability” because their slow, somewhat clumsy swimming style makes them vulnerable to predators. In lieu of escape, pufferfish use their highly elastic stomachs and the ability to quickly ingest huge amounts of water (and even air when necessary) to turn themselves into a virtually inedible ball several times their normal size. Some species also have spines on their skin to make them even less palatable.
A predator that manages to snag a puffer before it inflates won’t feel lucky for long. Almost all pufferfish contain tetrodotoxin, a substance that makes them foul tasting and often lethal to fish. To humans, tetrodotoxin is deadly, up to 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide. There is enough toxin in one pufferfish to kill 30 adult humans, and there is no known antidote.
Amazingly, the meat of some pufferfish is considered a delicacy. Called fugu in Japan, it is extremely expensive and only prepared by trained, licensed chefs who know that one bad cut means almost certain death for a customer. In fact, many such deaths occur annually.