After a recent cluster of
poisonings, NSW Health is urging people not to eat potentially deadly mushrooms
picked in the field.
NSW Health’s Director of
the Environmental Health, Dr Benjamin Scalley, cautioned people against eating
wild mushrooms after 38 poisoning hospitalisations this year, including 14
children, were reported to the NSW Poisons Information Centre.
“In Autumn alone, prime
mushroom-growing season, there have been 27 poisoning hospitalisations so far,
ten of them children.
picked in the wild can make you very ill and could be lethal, so people should only
eat shop-bought mushrooms,” Dr Scalley said.
“Cooler, wetter weather
is making good growing conditions for wild mushrooms. But it is difficult for
most people to recognise edible from poisonous mushrooms.
mushrooms can cause severe abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea,
sweating, confusion and hallucinations. Some varieties of mushrooms can be
fatal causing severe kidney and liver damage.”
Dr Scalley said cooking
or boiling wild mushrooms does not make them safe to eat, so it is best to
avoid eating wild mushrooms unless they have been bought from a shop.
Jared Brown, Head of the
Poisons Information, said in Australia there are some poisonous wild mushrooms
that look similar to edible wild mushrooms found in Asia or Europe.
“There are many mushroom
species growing in the wild including the Death Cap mushroom (Amanita phalloides), for example, which can
cause serious poisoning, and potentially fatal organ damage,” Mr Brown said.
“There is no reliable way
to identify mushrooms picked in the wild. Their appearance can often change at
different stages of its growth, and can look similar to edible mushroom
species, making it very difficult, even for an expert, to differentiate.”
“We strongly advise that
people do not pick or consume wild mushrooms at all. It is simply not worth the
Between 2014-17, there
have been 281 hospitalisations from mushroom poisoning in NSW and ACT, with the
Poisons Information Centre receiving 893 calls from people eating wild
mushrooms in the same period.
Anyone who ingests wild
mushrooms should contact the Poisons Information Centre (13 11 26) immediately,
even if they are completely well as symptoms can be delayed in onset and early
treatment is vital.
an emergency, people should call 000 for an ambulance or seek medical treatment
through their doctor or local hospital emergency department.