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Mushrooms are fungus that grows in moist environments. They can be found growing in wooded areas and on lawns. Poisonous and non-poisonous mushrooms grow beside each other. Only a mushroom expert, called a mycologist, can tell the difference. It is dangerous to eat any mushroom that you have found outdoors. Eating even small parts of some mushrooms can cause sickness or death.
The Ontario Poison Centre receives many calls about exposures to mushrooms. Examples of these calls include:
- A curious child has eaten part of a mushroom that was growing on the lawn.
- An adult has picked mushrooms growing wild and prepared them as part of a meal. Many adults think they know which mushrooms are poisonous and which ones are safe.
After eating a poisonous mushroom, you may not become ill for many hours. This makes it very difficult to identify that the mushroom is the cause of your symptoms. If someone has eaten mushrooms that were growing wild, do not wait until the person feels sick to call the Ontario Poison Centre.
How to Prevent Mushroom Poisoning
- Check outdoor areas frequently for mushrooms before children go outdoors to play. This is particularly important after a rainfall as mushrooms tend to grow plentifully after it rains.
- Remove and throw away all mushrooms growing near your home.
- Teach children that all wild mushrooms may be harmful.
- Remember: Cooking outdoor mushrooms does NOT make them safe to eat.