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07 Apr 2003

Sick from eating "Butterfish"

Have you ever heard os someone becomming sick with oily diarrhoea after eating "butterfish". I have recently had this experience. After research I discovered that some fish (pariculalry Ruvettus pretiosus and Lepidocybium flavobrunneum) contain up to 20% indigestable wax esters in them, that cause these symptoms. It is the former of these (Ruvettus pretiosus) that a particular retailer in SA is selling as "butterfish" (the correct scientific name for butterfish is Scatophagus sp.) I contacted the retailer, who told me that "only a small proportion - maybe 3 out of 10 - of consumers, will present these symptoms". I want to know if you have heard of anyone else recently encountering this problem and whether their statment has a ring of truth to it and finally if the statement is somewhat true, whether you feel that 3 out of 10 is a reasonable number of consumers to get sick from a product.

Kind Regards,
Answer 10,136 views

01 Jan 0001

Dear Terro
Butterfish is well-known for causing diarrhoea and I would suspect that more than 30% of individuals would develop these loose stools. I have personally been offered butterfish at restaurants and have always avoided eating these fish because of their bad reputation. The thing is not that they are poisonous, but the high wax/oil content lubricates the bowels to such an extent that the bowel contents literally 'run out of the body'. Rather stay away from such exotic fare.
Best regards
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