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Enjoy mushrooms without regret - new information leaflet aims to prevent poisoning

09/2001, 19.02.2001

Long before the mushroom season begins - often already in spring - there is an increased incidence of enquiries about mushroom poisoning at poison control centres. The health risk from toxic or indigestible mushrooms is relatively high - again and again edible types are confused with poisonous varieties. Children and the elderly are particularly at risk since even small amounts of mushrooms can trigger severe health impairment. In order to prevent poisonings of this kind, BgVV has issued an information leaflet in which edible and poisonous mushrooms are described. The selection is based on data from the poison control centres in Germany but does not cover all edible and poisonous mushrooms.

Based on the BgVV brochure "Toxic plants in residential areas and nature", of which more than 25,000 copies have been mailed out, the information brochure "Mushroom poisoning" contains colour pictures in addition to a description of the mushrooms. All pictures are taken in the open air, in the mushrooms' own habitat. Depending on age, location and weather conditions, their appearance can vary. The poisonous mushrooms are classified according to the symptoms they trigger. In the case of non-poisonous mushrooms their poisonous doubles are described.

Furthermore, the brochure contains details about nutritional value, toxicity and the clinical picture in the event of poisoning. For mushroom collectors and consumers the following applies:

  • Only collect and prepare mushrooms where you are sure they are not poisonous!
  • The mushrooms must be fresh and have a pleasing appearance!
  • The consumption of raw mushrooms as salad can trigger more or less strong intolerance symptoms. Therefore you should cook every mushroom dish for at least 15 minutes.
  • You can reheat mushroom dishes when they have been stored for a short time prior to this in the fridge.
  • If there is the slightest uncertainty whether a mushroom is poisonous or not, you should consult a mushroom expert. The poison control centres have a list of mushroom experts. In Berlin the Botanic Museum, Königin-Luise-Straße 6-8, in 14195 Berlin (Dahlem) offers advice on mushrooms (for more information on this please contact 030-838-50100).

If you start feeling unwell after eating mushrooms, a doctor or poison control centre should always be consulted in order to co-ordinate the next steps. Under no circumstances should treatment be undertaken by laymen. Hasty and ill-considered attempts at treatment can pose an unnecessary risk to health even in the case of life-threatening clinical pictures. Even supposedly harmless measures like triggering vomiting can have serious consequences when for instance vomit enters the lungs. Milk can promote the uptake of poison. Therefore, always seek medical advice and always have health disorders treated by a doctor. The brochure "Mushroom poisoning" can be obtained at a cost of DM 10 by writing or sending a fax to the BgVV Press and Public Relations Office. An invoice will be enclosed with the brochure.


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