Mushrooms and mushroom toxins

svampsmörgåsar

There are many tasty mushrooms in the forest, but be sure to pick only those that you know are edible. Mushrooms contain fibres as well as certain vitamins and minerals. Some species also contain vitamin D, which is unique among plant foods.

A mushroom may taste good, but that is no guarantee that it is safe to eat. Unfortunately, some mushrooms are toxic and can cause severe symptoms if you eat them. Some species may even be fatal. Knowledge about mushrooms is constantly evolving, and consequently books and information about mushrooms become outdated. Therefore, it is important to consult updated mushroom books/information in order to identify edible species and what mushrooms to avoid.

Mushroom poisoning

The most common cause of mushroom poisoning is when toxic species have been mistaken for edible mushrooms. The severity of the poisoning is determined by what mushroom has been consumed and in what quantity. Different toxic mushrooms cause different symptoms. Poisonous mushrooms can, for example:

  • Affect the nervous system. Examples: Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria), Panther Cap (Amanita pantherina), Royal Fly Agaric (Amanita regalis), and some species of Marasmius, Psilocybe, Inocybe and Clitocybe
  • Affect the gastrointestinal tract. Examples: Yellow Stainer (Agaricus xanthodermus) , Sickener (Russula emetica), Livid Pinkgill (Entoloma sinuatum)
  • Damage internal organs. Examples: Destroying Angel (Amanita virosa), Deathcap( Amanita phalloides) , Funeral Bell (Galerina marginata), Deadly Webcap (Cortinarius rubellus) and Fool’s Webcap (Cortinarius orellanus)
  • Give allergic reactions. Examples: Brown Roll-rim (Paxillus involutus)
  • Alter the sensitivity to alcohol. Examples: Common ink cap (Coprinopsis atramentaria)

Avoid raw or contaminated mushrooms

 Mushrooms are difficult to digest and can cause unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stomach-ache and diarrhoea if eaten raw or inadequately prepared. In addition, mushrooms are fresh produce susceptible to spoilage by bacteria. Eating bacterially contaminated mushrooms can also cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. In these cases, the symptoms are caused by the bacteria and not by the mushroom. Mushrooms should, therefore, be cleaned and cooked as soon as possible after picking and you should only eat fresh mushrooms and mushroom dishes.

Reduce the risk of mushroomcaused illness

  • Only eat mushrooms that you are sure are edible.
  • Consult updated books/informationon mushrooms to identify edible species.

Cook mushrooms properly - do not eat raw mushrooms

If you suspect you have been poisoned

 If you have been poisoned by mushrooms, it is important that you contact the Swedish Poisons Information Centre (Giftinformationscentralen). In case of acute and severe cases, call 112 and ask for the Swedish Poisons Information Centre. In less urgent cases you can call 010-456 67 00 – 24 hours a day.

Reviewed 2019-01-16