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Public Health Ontario: Foraged Mushroom Consumption in Ontario

Public Health Ontario has published a new Evidence Brief: Foraged Mushroom Consumption in Ontario.

From the introduction to the document:

Wild mushroom foraging for consumption is an unregulated practice in Ontario with potential health risks, particularly to inexperienced foragers. Many species of wild mushroom are poisonous and health effects of such species can range from mild to severe, including death. However, serious poisonings are rare. While there are no reported cases of poisoning linked to commercial foraging, over a thousand calls were made to the Ontario Poison Centre (OPC) over a recent 5-year period that were mushroom-related. At least 90 cases resulted in hospital admission.

The results of the review showed:

  • There are no simple tests to determine if a mushroom is poisonous. Safe consumption of wild mushrooms and other wild foods requires they be correctly identified by knowledgeable harvesters. However, currently there is no mechanism for licensing or accrediting wild mushroom foragers.
  • While wild mushrooms can be found in Ontario’s farmers’ markets, certain farmers’ market food vendors are exempt from the Food Premises Regulation.
  • Assessments and inspections may be carried out at farmers’ markets to ensure compliance with the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

The resource can be found at:

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