The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) issued a warning today about the danger of eating wild mushrooms. They particularly cautioned parents and guardians to make sure that children don’t eat any mushrooms growing in fields or gardens.
Although we are only entering mushroom foraging season, 18 cases of mushroom poisoning have been reported this year, including 11 children. This almost matches the total for the whole of last year, with 19 poisoning cases.
Ray Ellard, the Director of Consumer Protection in the FSAI stated that “the high number of cases involving children in particular points to the need for parents and guardians to be vigilant and to teach children not to eat wild mushrooms.”
“We’re advising parents and guardians to specifically watch children who may be playing in gardens or fields where wild mushrooms could be growing in case they accidently eat a poisonous mushroom.”
It can be extremely difficult to tell the difference between safe mushrooms and poisonous ones when looking for wild mushrooms, so people have been urged to consult an expert before tasting any foraged fungi.
“Given the serious health implications, we’re advising people to be aware of the risks involved and to seek specialist advice from an experienced mushroom forager if they plan to undertake this activity.  In our opinion, websites and books showing visuals of mushrooms are not sufficient to identify safe mushrooms,” said Ray Ellard.
 People are also warned that cooking mushrooms does not eradicate the poison. “It is important to note that cooking does not kill the potentially toxic chemicals that can be found in some wild mushrooms,” the Director explained.
“Eating a wild poisonous mushroom, raw or cooked, can result in people becoming very ill with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea and, in some cases, it can result in liver failure.”