Belfast Telegraph

Foragers warned of mushroom dangers

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 vegetable 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.

Ray Ellard, director of consumer protection, said it is extremely difficult to identify the safe mushrooms growing in the wild, as opposed to the poisonous varieties.

"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 who may be playing in gardens or fields where wild mushrooms could be growing, in case they accidentally eat a poisonous mushroom."

The FSAI warning coincides with 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 so far 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.

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