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Fatal danger of eating wild mushrooms DANGER: Wild mushrooms

DEADLY mushrooms growing in the wild have poisoned seven people so far this year.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has warned about the dangers of foraging as it emerged 27 varieties of the popular fungus are toxic.

There are 13 highly dangerous species in Ireland which are life threatening and can cause liver and kidney damage, while another 14 native species lead to gastrointestinal upset.



identify

Ray Ellard, director of consumer protection for the FSAI, said it is extremely difficult to identify safe mushrooms.

"Cooking does not kill the potentially toxic chemicals that can be found in some wild mushrooms," he said.

"Eating a wild poisonous mushroom, raw or cooked, can result in people becoming very ill and indeed in some cases, can be life threatening.

"We strongly advise parents to teach children not to eat wild mushrooms and to specifically watch children playing in gardens or fields where wild mushrooms could be growing."

The FSAI warning comes at the start of the mushroom foraging season, when incidence of food poisonings notified to the National Poisons Information Centre of Ireland rise.

Medics revealed seven people have been treated this year, with 22 patients reported last year.

Many species cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and watery or bloody diarrhoea, while species like death cap are highly poisonous and can cause hepatic and renal toxicity.

Elsewhere 'magic' mushrooms have hallucinogenic properties and can lead to confusion, agitation, aggressive behaviour and panic attacks.

The FSAI said people who gather mushrooms in the wild need to be aware of the risks they are taking.

"We are advising amateur mushroom hunters to seek specialist advice from an experienced mushroom forager if they plan to undertake this activity," added Mr Ellard.

"Websites and books showing visuals of mushrooms are not sufficient in our view to make a confirmed identification of a safe mushroom."

hnews@herald.ie


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