At least two people became ill with apparent tetrodotoxin poisoning, a poisoning that is commonly associated with pufferfish, after eating products labeled as monkfish which were distributed by the Hong Chang Corporation of Santa Fe Springs, California. According to a press release from the Food and Drug Administration:
Consumption of foods containing tetrodotoxin can result in life-threatening illness or death. This toxin cannot be destroyed by cooking or freezing.
Initial symptoms occur within 30 minutes to several hours after consuming food containing the toxin and are characterized by lip and tongue tingling and then followed by facial and extremity tingling and numbness. Subsequent symptoms may include headache, balance problems, excessive salivation, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea with abdominal pain which can be severe. In severe cases, muscles can become paralyzed and death may follow resulting from respiratory muscle paralysis. Consumers experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical care.
Information about the products being recalled can be found in the FDA’s recall release.