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Chemicals in Food

Why is fugu toxic?

Fugu fish is toxic because of a molecule called tetrodotoxin. This molecule binds to the sodium ion channels in nerves’ cells, shutting down all communication in your nervous system. The toxin is not affected by cooking, so chefs that prepare this dangerous fish have to be highly trained to avoid serving parts that contain tetrodotoxin (the liver, ovaries, and skin can have very high levels of this poison).



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