Recent heavy rainfall could encourage the growth of Death Cap mushrooms in the ACT, with the community encouraged not to forage in the area.
ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Paul Kelly, said Death Cap mushrooms are extremely poisonous and can easily be confused with other wild mushrooms. He reminded the community not to pick or eat any wild mushrooms.
“Death Cap mushrooms are typically seen in Canberra from late March, although they can be seen at other times during the year dependant on weather conditions,” Kelly said. “With the recent heavy rain and sunny days, we are reminding all Canberrans not to pick or eat any wild mushrooms and to pass this message on to family and friends who are visiting or new to Canberra.
He said all mushrooms should be purchased from a reputable supplier.
“All parts of the Death Cap mushroom are poisonous, and eating just one can be fatal. Cooking the Death Cap mushroom does not make it safe to eat,” Kelly added.
In the last 16 years, there have been four fatalities and a number of poisonings associated with Death Cap mushrooms in the ACT.
Earlier this year, SA Health issued a similar warning after Death Cap mushrooms were found under oak trees in the Adelaide Hills.
In 2012, a chef and a kitchen hand from a bistro in the Harmonie German Club in the Canberra suburb of Narrabundah died after eating a stir-fry containing Death Cap mushrooms, and in 2014 three people from the same household were hospitalised after eating the mushrooms, which they claimed they bought from a Woolworths store.
At the time, Paul Kelly, said there was no evidence the mushrooms came from Woolworths, and the assumption was that the mushrooms were picked.