Ontario Poison Centre warns of potential dangers of wild mushrooms
KITCHENER -- The Ontario Poison Centre says people need to be careful about the dangers of consuming wild mushrooms.
The centre said more people have been foraging for mushrooms since the COVID-19 pandemic began, causing some hospitalizations.
Kriss Gandier has been foraging mushrooms since she was a child.
"I like the challenge of finding different mushrooms," she explained.
Gandier said it's important to know which mushrooms are edible and which aren't.
"I don't think you should consume it unless you have a positive identification," Gandier said.
The Ontario Poison Centre said eating a wild mushroom could have serious health risks.
"Some mushrooms are GI irritants and they can cause you to have nausea, vomiting and diarrhea," said Margaret Thompson with the centre. "There's some mushrooms that are more dangerous than that and they actually cause your liver to die."
The centre said foraging has become a popular pastime during the pandemic, but added those with little experience shouldn't take the risk.
"The naked eye will not tell you the difference between a toxic and non-toxic mushroom," Thompson said.
The Ontario Poison Centre said it's received nearly twice as many calls related to mushroom exposure this September compared to September 2019. Some people have even gone to the hospital.
Greg Michalenko, a retired environmental professor at the University of Waterloo, said he's often called to hospitals after someone consumes a wild mushroom.
"In almost all cases, there was no problem, it wasn't toxic," he said. "But there are other mushrooms that are very toxic and indeed fatally poisonous."
Gandier suggests foraging with an experienced group.