The B.C. Centre for Disease Control and Vancouver Mycological Society are warning recreational mushroom hunters to use caution and common sense when foraging wild mushrooms.
The warning follows an increase in calls to the B..C Drug and Poison Information Centre this July as well as the seasonal appearance of Amanita phalloides, also known as the death cap mushroom, which is increasingly popping up in regions of the province.
“In a typical July we might get a dozen calls regarding exposures to poisonous foraged mushrooms, and this year we’ve had double that,” said Dr. Roy Purssell, medical director of DPIC.
“We’re especially concerned about death cap mushrooms, which are highly toxic.”
Death cap mushrooms are not native to B.C. They are believed to have been introduced into the environment in the roots of imported hardwood trees such as Hornbeam.
Nobody has died from a B.C. death cap mushroom.
There are many other varieties of wild mushrooms that are less toxic than death caps but can also cause severe illness.
Tips to stay safe while mushroom hunting:
• If you are unsure, don’t eat it!
• Only pick and eat mushrooms that are well known, distinct and easily identifiable.
• Eat small amounts.
If you suspect you’ve consumed a poisonous mushroom, call DPIC at 1-800-567-8911 and seek medical attention or call.