Sale of pufferfish with dangerous toxins prohibited, says Health DG

PUTRAJAYA: Pufferfish that contain dangerous toxins are not allowed to be sold in Malaysia, says Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The Health director-general said the sale of pufferfish was controlled under the Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority Act 1972 and that Section 13 of the Food Act 1983 prohibits the sale of any food that has in or upon it any substance which is poisonous, harmful or otherwise injurious to health.

"Therefore, pufferfish, which contains dangerous toxins are not allowed to be sold," he said Thursday (March 31).

He said this in the wake of reports that an elderly woman in Kluang, Johor died of poisoning last Saturday (March 25) while her husband was still being treated in the intensive care unit after consuming puffer fish.

Dr Noor Hisham said data from the Disease Control Division of the Health Ministry showed that 58 pufferfish poisoning incidents involving 18 deaths were reported in the country between 1985 and March 2023.

Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry's Food Safety and Quality Division (FSQD) had produced educational materials to increase public awareness on the dangerous toxins in pufferfish.

"The ministry will continue to educate the public on food safety, including the danger of consuming pufferfish," he said.

According to him, a survey conducted by FSQD in 2019 showed that 86% of the respondents, which comprised the public, fishmongers, fishermen and cooks, had sufficient knowledge on the dangers of consuming pufferfish. - Bernama

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