IRELAND’S FOOD WATCHDOG has warned the public not to eat any mushrooms they find growing in the wild, saying wild mushrooms in fields or gardens could pose a risk of food poisoning – even when cooked.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has issued the warning to mark the start of the mushroom foraging season, saying the National Poisons Information Centre of Ireland has reported a number of recent cases of food poisoning relating to mushroom consumption.
There have already been seven such cases this year, in addition to the 22 cases recorded in 2011.
The authority’s director of consumer protection Ray Ellard said it would be “extremely difficult for the amateur mushroom hunter 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,” Ellard 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.”
The authority has particularly warned parents of children who may play in gardens or fields to be vigilant, in case their kids accidentally ingest any poisonous foodstuffs.
It has suggested that mushrooms found in the wild should only be eaten after consultation with an expert mushroom forager, and not to consult books or websites which may not be in a position to give authoritative guidance on whether the food is safe to eat.