NH DHHS Issues Warning about Consumption of Wild Mushrooms

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is warning residents to be

cautious when consuming wild mushrooms. In general, eating wild mushrooms

is dangerous unless you are an expert in their identification. It is

recommended that children not eat any wild mushrooms and adults who eat

them must first ensure they are safe. DPHS does periodically learn of

people showing up in emergency departments after becoming ill from eating

wild mushrooms and public health officials want to make sure people are

aware of the risk.

“In the past several years we have continued to hear of people that become

ill after eating wild mushrooms” said Public Health Director Dr. José

Montero. “We want to make sure everyone knows about the dangers of wild

mushrooms potentially being poisonous especially since they may encounter

them doing outdoor spring activities. Consumers should be cautious about

purchasing wild mushrooms from foragers. The person who forages for wild

mushrooms must be an expert in mushroom identification since some poisonous

mushrooms look exactly the same as the non-poisonous types.”

Since there are no certification requirements for mushroom foragers in New

Hampshire, wild mushrooms cannot be sold to retail food establishments

since they are not grown in controlled environments and because of the

inherent risk associated with the improper identification of non-toxic


In 2009, DPHS surveillance detected 8 cases of emergency room visits due to

ingesting wild mushrooms. In 2010 that number was 11, there were 31 cases

in 2011, and only 2 in 2012. “We hope this means people are paying more

attention to this issue, but we don’t know for sure,” said Montero. “It

could be there were fewer mushrooms last year because of the drier weather

so we need to continue to warn people about this issue.”

There is no approved treatment for mushroom poisoning. Symptoms may not

begin until hours after ingestion and can include abdominal pain, nausea,

vomiting, fever, severe diarrhea, a change in heart rhythm, and low blood

pressure. There are many different types of mushrooms that grow in New

Hampshire, and some of them are toxic. Small amounts of wild mushrooms

often cause little or no effect when swallowed. However, as little

as one bite of a poisonous mushroom can cause serious injury or death. Many

toxic mushrooms look a lot like non-toxic ones.

If someone tastes or eats a wild mushroom, call the Northern New England

Poison Center (NNEPC) right away at 1-800-222-1222. Trained nurses and

pharmacists staff the Poison Center 24-hour helpline. For more information,

visit the NNEPC website at