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August 27, 2014
Health warning issued on consuming wild mushrooms
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).

Wild mushrooms are found throughout urban centres in backyards and parks as well as in rural areas. Although the mushroom identified in this circumstance was an Amanita, there are several other species that don’t mature until late November that can be as deadly.

Anyone with health concerns related to eating mushrooms should call the Ontario Poison Centre. In Toronto, call 416-813-5900; outside Toronto call 1-800-268-9017.

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. Toronto is proud to be the Host City for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.

Media Contact
Kris Scheuer
Toronto Public Health

For interviews with Dr. Margaret Thompson, Medical Director, Ontario Poison Centre, please contact Caitlin McNamee-Lamb
416-813-7654 ext. 201436



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