Tseung Kwan O in the New Territories and (inset) a puffer fish. Photo: Google Maps, Wikimedia Commons,

Officials from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department have checked a fresh market in Tseung Kwan O in the New Territories after a woman accused the owners of a fish stall of selling poisonous puffer fish.

On Wednesday, a woman claimed she went to the Choi Ming Fresh Market in Tsueng Kwan O and bought about 600 grams of fish to make soup for her family, according to a post on a Facebook group page called “Tseung Kwan O and Sai Kung Locals.”

When she washed the fish, she found four poisonous puffer fish mixed in with other fish. She shared two photos of the puffer fish she found on social media to alert other residents to be cautious at the market.

The woman said she believed the fish stall accidentally mixed the puffer fish in with other fish, but netizens slammed the staff at the stall and called them careless.

A biologist said the puffer fish shown in the photo were a species called Takifugu ocellatus, which were common in waters off Lantau Island, news website HK01.com reported.

Puffer fish contain tetrodotoxin which is likely to remain in fish tissue after cooking and drying, the Center for food safety said, adding that eating fish products containing tetrodotoxin can lead to food poisoning or even death.

Officers from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department searched the fresh market on Thursday, but did not find any stalls selling puffer fish, the Apple Daily reported.

A spokesperson from the department reminded the public that according to the law, all food for sale in Hong Kong produced locally or imported should be fit for human consumption. An offender is subject to a maximum fine of $50,000 (US$6,370) and imprisonment for six months upon conviction.

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