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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Food Deaths in Japan: Fugu vs. Mochi

According to media reports, four deaths were recorded through Wednesday (January 2, 2008) in Tokyo from eating the traditonal Japanese New Year's treat mochi. All were men over the age of 59. If you say that one person dies every two weeks from eating mochi, it would still probably be more than deaths from fugu poisoning - which people estimate around 10 - 20 per year (although some claim it is 100+). Whatever the exact figures may be, it is still safer to eat almost any food than to drive a car...

To research: Official death toll from fugu and mochi

Fact: In 1958 - the first year the preparation of fugu required a special license - there were 176 fugu-related deaths in Japan.

Question: Would you rather choke to death on mochi or die a slower death from fugu's poison tetrodotoxin?

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