Whoever ate the first pufferfish must have been adventurous. (And most likely died shortly thereafter.) Almost all pufferfish contain tetrodotoxin, a deadly toxin that is up to 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide. The poison in one pufferfish is enough to wipe out 30 humans, and there’s no known antidote.
Yet, many people eat it. Called fugu in Japan, the meat of the pufferfish is a highly prized dish that is prepared by specially trained, licensed chefs. Even so, according to government figures, there were 23 deaths among 338 fugu poisoning cases recorded in Japan from 2000 to 2009.