Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Toxic Fish Being Sold in Dili

This message is being issued to alert U.S. citizens residing in, or traveling to Timor-Leste that toxic fish are being sold in Dili. Local authorities have detained several individuals for smuggling fish into Timor-Leste to sell. The fish was heavily coated with formaldehyde, which is highly toxic, and then soaked in pig’s blood to create the appearance of fresh fish. A number of animals were reported to have died within minutes of eating the contaminated fish. Local authorities are taking action to identify and remove any contaminated fish. It is strongly recommended that individuals refrain from buying fish from local street sellers in Dili until further notice.

For further information:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Timor-Leste’s Country Specific Information for Timor-Leste.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Timor-Leste, located at Av. de Portugal – Praia dos Coqueiros, at +670-332-4684, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +670-7723-1328.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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