No matter how safe the mushrooms in your backyard may look, Toronto Public Health is warning you: do not eat or pick wild mushrooms.
A Toronto resident was recently hospitalized after consuming a wild mushroom identified as Amanita, a species that can be fatal.
In the statement, Dr. Howard Shapiro, Associate Medical Officer of Health says, “Some varieties may look similar to mushrooms that are safe to consume, but are in fact poisonous.”
Although fatal poisonings are rare in Ontario, the symptoms commonly associated with eating poisonous mushrooms are unpleasant: nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and in severe cases, sweating, convulsions, hallucinations, and even 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,” says Dr. Margaret Thompson, Medical Director of the Ontario Poison Centre at SickKids, in the statement. “Our advice is to not take the risk.”
But for amateur chefs who can’t resist the temptation to add a locavore twist to their Sunday night feast, join your local foraging organization, such as the Mycological Society of Toronto, and head out into the woods with the pros.