Do you really know how to cook it?

Ke Jiayun
A fisherman has been sentenced to three years in jail for selling two wild pufferfish to a chef.
Ke Jiayun

A fisherman who sold two wild-caught pufferfish to a chef, causing his death, was sentenced to three years in jail and fined 1,000 yuan (US$145) for selling food that failed to meet safety standards, the Pudong New Area People's Court announced Thursday.

Gao has paid the victim's family 150,000 yuan in compensation and has been forgiven by them, the court said.

Two years ago, the fisherman from Anhui Province took his catch to a farmers’ market in the Pudong New Area to sell. Among the fish were two pufferfish he wanted to keep for himself. However, one of his regular customers, chef Zhang, insisted on buying them and paid Gao 20 yuan.

Two concerned vendors near Gao's booth warned Zhang that if a pufferfish is not properly prepared, it could be poisonous. Zhang responded that he knew how to cook the fish.

That night, after Zhang ate the puffer, he fell ill and later died in hospital. When Gao learned of Zhang's death, he absconded. On May 21 last year, Gao surrendered himself to Anhui police and confessed.

During the hearing, Gao told prosecutors that he knew the pufferfish was toxic and banned from sale. However, at Zhang's persistence, he decided to sell them because Gao himself had eaten pufferfish many times and nothing happened to him.

The court found that knowing pufferfish is banned from sale, Gao should be convicted of selling food that failed to meet safety standards.

He was given a light penalty because he gave up himself to police and won the forgiveness of Zhang's family. Zhang should also take a measure of responsibility in the case for knowing the risk but still choosing to eat the fish.

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