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Elderly Woman In Johor Dies After Cooking & Eating Pufferfish, Husband In ICU

Johor Couple Eats Pufferfish They Ordered On Facebook, Woman Dies & Man In ICU

While fish is a common item to have at mealtimes, there are some species that are dangerous or even lethal to consume if not prepared properly.

One of them is the pufferfish. According to the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), this harmless-looking creature contains a toxin that’s so deadly, just 0.002g of it is enough to kill an adult human.

Source: Brian Yurasits on Unsplash

It’s still edible — but only under strict safety conditions. Unfortunately, one couple in Johor, Malaysia, was apparently not aware of this and had the poisonous catch for lunch.

They both eventually began having breathing difficulties and were rushed to the hospital, but the woman sadly passed away.

Elderly woman in Johor dies after cooking & eating pufferfish

According to Sin Chew Daily, the elderly couple ordered the pufferfish through Facebook and received it on Saturday morning (25 Mar).

Speaking to China Press, the couple’s son said that his mother, 83-year-old Madam Lin Xiu Wan, fried two of the fish for lunch.

She and her husband, Mr Huang Chuan Xin, 84, then ate about two-thirds of one of the fish at 2pm.

Source: China Press

About an hour and a half later, she began feeling numbness in her hands, feet, and lips.

Johor health and unity committee chairman Ling Tian Soon also told The Star that Madam Lin was shivering and had breathing difficulties.

Her husband started displaying the same symptoms an hour later.


When their son returned home, he noticed that his parents were unwell and quickly sent them to the hospital.

Madam Lin was immediately warded in the intensive care unit (ICU) but passed away at 7pm.

On the other hand, Mr Huang is still in the ICU with a lung infection, Oriental Daily News reported.

Cause of death was food poisoning

The son later reported the case to the Malaysian Ministry of Health, which took the pufferfish for testing.

Mr Ling said that the cause of Madam Lin’s death was “food poisoning with neurological manifestation resulting in respiratory failure and irregular heart rate, possibly due to toxin ingestion”.

Her body has since been returned to her family for the funeral, her son told China Press.

Source: China Press

The son shared that it was his parents’ first time eating pufferfish, which they didn’t know was poisonous.

“I never expected such a thing to happen after just one meal,” he told Oriental Daily.

Sin Chew Daily reported that the elder Mr Huang was in a stable condition when he arrived at the hospital but is now in a coma.

Doctors have purportedly told family members that the toxins have spread to other parts of his body, so things aren’t looking too good for now.

Pufferfish sold to 5 customers in Johor on same day

Mr Ling told The Star that the pufferfish has been traced to a fisherman from Mersing, who then sold them to a distributor in Batu Pahat to be processed.

The online seller was found to have sold 15kg of pufferfish to five customers in three towns on 25 Mar.

Fortunately, the other customers have not eaten the fish, which have since been seized by the health department.

Authorities have also ordered the supplier to cease the sale of pufferfish.

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Featured image adapted from China Press.

Tammi Tan

Tammi loves the colour pink but wears a lot of black. She can often be found enjoying tiny house tours on YouTube or rewatching Christopher Nolan and Marvel films.

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