Mushrooms, some are yummy, some are psychedelic, some are lethal: I wouldn’t know the difference.

Ingestion of Amanita phalloides is responsible for a majority of mushroom-related deaths worldwide. Amatoxins, the principal toxic alkaloids found in these fungi, cause cell injury by halting protein synthesis. A possible antidote licensed in most of Europe, intravenous silibinin, is undergoing evaluation by clinical trial in the United States.

In December 2016, 14 cases of Amanita phalloides poisoning were identified by the California Poison Control System (CPCS) among persons who had consumed foraged wild mushrooms. In the past few years before this outbreak, CPCS only received reports of a few mushroom poisoning cases per year. All patients in this outbreak had gastrointestinal manifestations of intoxication leading to dehydration and hepatotoxicity. Three patients received liver transplants; all patients recovered, although one (a child) had permanent neurologic impairment.

Wild-picked mushrooms should be evaluated by a trained mycologist before ingestion. Inexperienced foragers should be strongly discouraged from eating any wild mushrooms. Health care providers should be aware of the potential for toxicity after wild mushroom ingestion, that gastrointestinal symptoms mimicking viral gastroenteritis can occur after ingestion and slowly progress to potentially fatal hepatotoxicity, and should contact the local poison center for reporting and assistance with management of these patients.

Amanita phalloides Mushroom Poisonings- Northern California, December 2016

MMWR, Weekly, June 2, 2017, 66(21); 549-553, Kathy T. Vo, MD; Martha E. Montgomery, MD; S. Todd Mitchell, MD; Pieter H. Scheerlinck, MD; Daniel K. Colby, MD; Kathryn H. Meier, PharmD; Susan Kim-Katz, PharmD; Ilene B. Anderson, PharmD; Steven R. Offerman, MD; Kent R. Olson, MD; Craig G. Smollin, MD

Listeria also in Canadian mushrooms

The food recall warning issued on June 7, 2015 has been updated to include additional product information. This additional information was identified during the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) food safety investigation.

listeria.mushrooms.jun.15Champ’s Mushrooms is recalling sliced mushroom products from the marketplace due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled products described below.

This recall was triggered by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) test results. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing recalled products from the marketplace.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.

Don’t you eat that yellow snow — or wild mushrooms

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland is advising people not to eat mushrooms they find growing in the wild as the foraging season begins.

Dont-eat-yellow-snow4Last year, 19 cases of poisoning relating to wild mushrooms were notified to the National Poisons Information Centre. 18 have already been notified this year, involving seven adults and 11 children.

Mushroom foraging can be done safely, but requires expertise in distinguishing poisonous varieties from edible ones.

Cooking poisonous mushrooms does not kill off toxic chemicals contained in the fungus itself, and the results can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and even liver failure.

“The high number of cases involving children in particular points to the need for parents and guardians to be vigilant and to teach children not to eat wild mushrooms,” said Ray Ellard of the FSAI.

“In our opinion, websites and books showing visuals of mushrooms are not sufficient to identify safe mushrooms and we would not recommend people to solely rely on these to determine the safety of a wild mushroom.”

Backyard mushrooms nearly deadly for Connecticut family

It was a dish made from backyard mushrooms that sent a family of four to the hospital and a combination treatment of charcoal and an experimental drug that helped save them. reports the Newington family’s harrowing tale began Thursday when Shah Noor, 40, picked some mushrooms from their backyard. She cooked them with onions, garlic and green chili peppers for dinner that night. Everyone in the family agreed that it was a tasty meal.

But early Friday morning, Noor’s husband Musarat Ullah, 59, and their daughter, Aiman Bibi, 21, had severe stomach pains and went to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford. There, Dr. Danyal Ibrahim, director of toxicology, urged Ullah to call home to make sure everyone else was OK.

“When I called, I heard this hue and cry,” he said. His wife was vomiting and his other daughter, Wafa Guloona, 24, was on the floor holding her stomach. Guloona managed to drive herself and her mother to the hospital, stopping twice to throw up.

After asking what they had eaten recently, it didn’t take long for Ibrahim to focus on the mushrooms. The mushrooms were of the species Amanita bisporigera, common in the northeast. The white mushrooms are perfectly nice looking, but they’re also known as the “destroying angel” and ingesting them can be deadly.

In many cases, the symptoms — severe vomiting, diarrhea and nausea — show up within six hours. That’s actually the better of the two outcomes, and it is what happened to Ullah and Bibi. Delayed symptoms, the kind that affected Noor and Guloona, can be more dangerous. In that case, the toxins from the mushroom are more likely to attack the liver directly.

By late Friday, all four were in the hospital’s emergency department being treated with a combination of IV fluids to restore electrolytes, a charcoal solution that absorbs the toxins and a drug known as N-Acetylcysteine, which helps restore damaged liver cells.

Poop on Mushrooms? Sara Snow on Jon and Kate Plus 8

While I was working with the TV on this afternoon, I heard Sara Snow, Television host and Green Goddess, telling Kate Gosselin of Jon and Kate Plus 8 that mushrooms should not be washed. Kate, who is raising her family on organic food believing it will make her young twins and sextuplets healthier and stronger, was clearly put off by Sara’s advice. She said the family doesn’t normally eat mushrooms, but she was willing to follow directions. Sara told her to just wipe off the mushrooms with a damp paper towel.

While the stir fry cooked, the dialog was enlightening:

Sara to Kate: “In my opinion, if there’s a little bit of dirt left on there, it’s fine. It’s not gonna hurt anyone.”

Kate to camera: “She taught me how to clean them, which was a little disturbing to me.”

Jon in Kate’s ear: “Fungi!”

Kate to Jon: “There was dirt on them. Active dirt. And she said you don’t wash mushrooms.”

Jon to Kate: “It’s not dirt.”

Kate: “I know that.”

Jon grins: “Poopadoop.”

Kate: “I know. You see. That’s why he doesn’t eat them, he claims.”

Kate to Sara: “I don’t know if I like to eat dirt, Sara.”

Kate to camera: “I was essentially merely just wiping the poop off of them and that concerned me that I didn’t get every last speck.”

Sara responds to Kate: “I let all sorts of things fall into my food and I’m not worried about it.”

Is Sara crazy? Is Kate right? Sara concludes, “By the time it all cooks down you won’t even notice it’s there. I’ll cover it up nicely.”

That’s the point, really. If you’re cooking your mushrooms, you can kill the nasty microbiological matter. But would you pop them in your mouth raw? Neither Sara nor Kate visibly ran to the sink to wash with soap and water after touching the Poopadoop Mushrooms. In the next scene everyone was heading to the table to eat.