Warning over wild mushrooms

Warning over wild mushrooms

Food
FUNKY FUNGI: The poison in one deathcap mushroom, if eaten, is enough to kill a healthy adult. Photo: Australian National Botanic Gardens.

FUNKY FUNGI: The poison in one deathcap mushroom, if eaten, is enough to kill a healthy adult. Photo: Australian National Botanic Gardens.

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The poison in one deathcap mushroom, if eaten, is enough to kill a healthy adult.

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RECENT rain and cooler temperatures are seeing wild mushrooms springing up around the country.

But we're being warned to avoid them as eating them could be toxic.

The Food Safety Information Council is urging people to be extremely careful around wild mushrooms because of the deadly deathcap mushroom poisoning risk.

The council's chair Cathy Moir said that foraging for wild food is becoming a popular activity but gathering wild mushrooms can be a life-threatening risk.

"The poison in one deathcap mushroom, if eaten, is enough to kill a healthy adult," Ms Moir said.

"In the past 16 years, four people have died after eating deathcap mushrooms found in the ACT. In 2012 two people died after eating the deadly mushrooms at a New Year's Eve dinner party in Canberra, and in 2014 four people were seriously poisoned."

Deathcap mushrooms can appear any time of year but are more common during Autumn a week or two after good rain.

They can be difficult to distinguish from some other wild mushrooms, so the council recommends only eating mushrooms bought from the supermarket, greengrocer or other reputable source.

Ms Moir said the toxin in deathcap mushrooms is not destroyed by peeling, cooking or drying.

"Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps and often don't appear until 10 to 16 hours after eating.

"These symptoms may ease for 2 to 3 days before a terminal phase of 3 to 4 days begins. Without early, effective medical intervention people may go into a coma and die after 2 or 3 weeks of liver and kidney failure."

Ms Moir said it's not just the deathcap mushroom that can make people ill.

"There are other wild mushrooms in Australia that, while not fatal, can make you ill with abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea," she said.

"These include the yellow stainer which resembles a field mushroom is the most commonly ingested poisonous mushroom in Victoria.

"Australian Poisons Information Centres received almost 900 calls about possible wild mushroom poisoning over a recent 12 month period, approximately a third of which were referred to hospital or medical treatment."

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