CHICAGO (CN) – A couple say they nearly died from eating pufferfish, illegally imported to the United States and mislabeled as monkfish. Pufferfish contains tetrodotoxin, one of the most lethal natural poisons in the world.
The couple sued Hong Chang Corp., the California-based importer, and Chicago Food Corp., which has an outlet on Kimball Avenue.
Plaintiffs Sung Ok Kim and Andy Kim say Hong Chang illegally imported the pufferfish, also known as bok fish. They say only one company – the Shimonoskei Fugu Export Association in Japan – is legally entitled to export the fish to the United States, which must be done through JFK Airport, after the tetrodotoxin is removed.
They say Hong Chang violated that law, and imported the pufferfish, which they bought mislabeled as monkfish at the Chicago Food Corp.
They say they needed medical and surgical services and were permanently injured. They add that tetrodotoxin, which has no known antidote, is lethal in quantities 1,200 times smaller than cyanide.
They demand punitive damages in Cook County Court. They are represented by Lawrence Maya with Deer and Stone.