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Mushroom soup claims fourth victim in California

By Routemaster Flash, Nov 28, 2012 | Updated: Nov 30, 2012 | | |
  1. Routemaster Flash
    A fourth person has died after eating soup made with poisonous mushrooms at a retirement home in northern California, local officials say.

    Three people from the Gold Age Villa home in the town of Loomis had already died after being taken ill on 8 November.

    It is thought the member of staff who prepared the soup did not know the mushrooms were poisonous.

    The caregiver was among those who fell ill after eating the soup.

    The name of the fourth person to die after eating the soup has not been made public.

    The first three fatalities were identified in US media as 86-year-old Barbara Lopes, 73-year-old Teresa Olesniewicz and 90-year-old Frank Warren Blodgett.

    The home remains open with one resident pending the outcome of an official investigation, local media reports say.

    A poisonous variety of the amanita species of mushroom which grows in California can resemble an edible mushroom found in Asia, according to experts.

    California recorded 1,700 cases of mushroom-related illnesses from 2009 to 2010, including two deaths, the Associated Press reports.



  1. al-k-mist
    As a person who occasionally makes money from wild forest mushrooms, It is articles like this that make people skeptical of buying some, even though the best in amaerica are easily identifiable, chantrelle, bolete, morel, hedgehog, 4 easily identifiable species(none of which have classic "gills" like regular mushrooms)
    It is sad that people who cannot positively identify mushrooms are either selling them to people who also cannot identify them, or cooking them in a soup for their guests, even if they meant well
    thanks for sharing
  2. Routemaster Flash
    I can see how that would be frustrating to someone who picks commercially. I only ever pick to eat, so in a way it's good for me if people are put off from picking - and it's good for people who don't know what they're doing to be put off picking, of course.

    Although there are people who don't know what they're doing but insist on picking anyway - seen several of them on this forum - and they're the idiots who cause disasters like this.
  3. Potter
    This appears to be the source of the majority of mushroom poisonings, and I suspect old or foreign mushroom guides play a roll in other deaths.

    What I suspect they thought they were eating was something in the Volvariella genus, wikipedia cuts to the point on the subject in their article on the genus. The other source I lazily found had that buried in a lot of blabing. A friend of mine runs a library where during the summer they post a sign in a few different languages that explains that the mushrooms on their lawn are deadly even though they look like they are, because they have had immigrants come along and attempt to pick them.

    I think in the big mushroom poisoning report they talk about a number of cases where people even in Europe, going to a different European country and being poisoned by look-a-likes.

    It has be come more and more obvious as mycologists look at fungal DNA and even microscopic structures, that morphology alone is not suitable for mushroom taxonomy. Look at how Amanita muscaria has changed in the past few years, it's gone from covering the northern hemisphere to being only in Siberia to N. Europe, with all the others being divided into new species and subspecies. Other genus's like Entoloma that were previously classified as edible, are now being printed as poisonous, as it has become apparent that the guides simply aren't comprehensive enough.

    Look at any book earlier then David Auror and you're going to get whole slews of different names all the way back to families and broader. I've got a few old books, and a few newer European books, that are quite contradictory to my newer, local books (which often explain the new designations). I think it would be prudent to avoid using older or foreign books, especially for those in the America's, where the study of mycology is far less complete compared to Europe.

    I've been considering printing up sheets to be inserted in some European books my local library has discussing this topic with references to the other books they carry.
  4. Routemaster Flash
    Yeah, I think the specific problem here is that immature death caps can look like Volvariella species - they're the 'paddy straw mushrooms', right? I grew up on a small island off the south coast of Britain which is mostly rural and a really great spot for mushrooms, and a Thai woman died there a few years back after confusing these two species.

    Just goes to show that knowing about mushrooms in general isn't enough - you need to know the specific kind of mushrooms that grow *in your area* if you want to pick safely.
  5. Docta
    This article is more than just of interest to Drug-Forum it underlines the importance of the work done by members in the area of identification and education.

    Newshawks: The News Forum Crew

    That is a valid point Potter makes, we have had what I thought was a spat of poisonings attributed to mistaken identity in Australia, but what now seems to be a pattern of behavior developing in multicultural societies.

    Obviously we have a large population of expats from Vietnam, China and India not understanding the dangers of local varieties.

    This is definitely not an isolated incident, local government in mushroom growing areas in my state are doing some rudimentary education with ethnic groups.

    We should make an effort to have a good shroom recognition component in the Wiki when the portal page go's up.
  6. monkeyspanker
    While I like routemasters post, most folks know that many, many mushrooms are deadly, these folks were in an 'old folks home', the care givers were responsible, that said, I live in an area where there are many old folks, 'pensioners' as they're called across the pond, many who have no one to look out for them. Certainly not they're offspring who never give a second thought to the old lady or gent who brought them into this world...that sounds mean eh?? Get over it, it's the freakin' truth!

    Do any of ya watch your Mums and Das, Mommas and Pappas food intact?? On a daily basis? Course not, they're in a home.

    One of the very real reasons for government regulations should be inacted, they made us, they deserve the best we can give right now, fuck you're game consoles, and yeah, even your drugs, they Deserve IT!!

    Of course, I'll have more to say later...

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