Food Safety Focus (11th Issue, June 2007) – Food Incident Highlight
Food Poisoning Caused by Wild Mushrooms
Two suspected cases of food poisoning caused by the consumption of wild mushrooms were reported in early May. The affected persons had been collecting wild mushrooms from the countryside. They developed symptoms of acute poisoning after having consumed the mushrooms at home and sought medical attention. The toxic chemical muscarine was detected at a level of 320 mg/kg in one mushroom remnant involved. Symptoms of muscarine poisoning include profound parasympathetic activation that may end in convulsions and death.
Of the over 380 known species of mushroom in Hong Kong, about ten percent are poisonous. As it is often difficult to distinguish between poisonous and edible species and cooking cannot render them non-toxic, the public is advised not to consume wild mushrooms collected from the countryside and parks.