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Health warning issued on consuming wild mushrooms

August 29, 2014

Toronto Public Health – Toronto Public Health is advising the public of the potential health risks associated with eating wild mushrooms after a Toronto resident was hospitalized after consuming wild mushrooms identified as “Amanita” (bisporigera species), which can be fatal. 

“Toronto Public Health wants to remind the public not to pick and eat mushrooms found growing in the wild,” said Dr. Howard Shapiro, Associate Medical Officer of Health and Acting Director of Healthy Environments, Toronto Public Health. “Some varieties may look similar to mushrooms that are safe to consume, but are in fact poisonous.”

Fatal poisonings are rare in Ontario as the majority of affected people recover fully. Depending on the type of mushroom, symptoms may take a few days to develop. Symptoms most commonly associated with eating poisonous mushrooms include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. More severe symptoms include sweating, convulsions, hallucinations and coma. 

“While it may be tempting for some residents to forage for wild mushrooms, it can be difficult to determine if mushrooms growing in the wild are edible or poisonous. Our advice is to not take the risk,” says Dr. Margaret Thompson, Medical Director of the Ontario Poison Centre at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). 

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