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Avoid Wild Mushrooms

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By Mayra Barrios

Avoid Wild Mushrooms

As the winter mushrooms season come s near, the California Department of Public Health reminds consumers that eating wild mushrooms can cause serious illness and even death.

“It is very difficult to distinguish which mushrooms are dangerous and which are safe to eat.  Therefore, we recommend that wild mushrooms not be eaten unless they have been carefully examined and determined to be edible by a mushroom expert,” Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and State Public Health Officer in a recent press release to alert consumers.

According to the California Poison Control System (CPCS), 1,748 cases of mushroom ingestion were reported statewide in 2009-2010.  Among those cases two individuals died and ten individuals suffered a major health outcome.

The most serious illnesses and deaths have been linked primarily to mushrooms known as Amanita phalloides, or the “death cap”. Mushrooms that grow in California and are commonly found during fall, late winter or spring reported the CDPH.

In 2009 The Record reported that a family from Lodi ended up in an intensive-care unit at a San Francisco hospital after eating “death cap” mushrooms by mistake.

Immigrants are susceptible to confusing these two varieties of mushrooms because they often resemble their native countries edible varieties.

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