The Kumamoto Prefectural Government is warning people to be on their guard following cases of food poisoning caused by people mistaking toxic night-scented lilies for edible taro plants (that’s the two plants, right).
There have been repeated cases across Japan where people accidentally consume the plants, as the leaves resemble those of edible taros. Officials are calling on people to “avoid eating taros of an unknown type.”
According to the prefecture, the 43-year-old woman and her family, who live in an area under the jurisdiction of the Mifune public health center in Kumamoto Prefecture, consumed a wild night-scented lily plant that had been growing at the side of an agricultural road near their residence, after mistaking it for edible shrimp-shaped taro. The woman felt a sharp pain in her mouth, as well as numbness in her lips and tongue, shortly after tasting the plant, which she used as an ingredient for miso soup, and was taken to hospital in an ambulance. Although the woman has been recovering, her symptoms apparently still remain. The woman said she had no experience cooking shrimp-shaped taro, and felt itchiness in her hand from the time she started cutting the plant.
In a separate case, eight people suffered food poisoning after eating night-scented lilies that were mistakenly sold at a produce stand in Miyazaki Prefecture in October. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has cautioned people to “avoid picking, eating, selling, or giving to others plants that cannot be ascertained as being edible.”