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