intoxications champignons
Daily life
2 min

Mushroom season: poisoning on the rise!

Every year in October, there is a peak in the number of mushroom poisoning cases. Certain species of mushroom are toxic and can even be fatal to humans. In 2022, two people died after mistaking toxic species for edible ones. Whether you are a connoisseur or an occasional picker, you should remain vigilant and follow good practices to ensure safe consumption.

More than 600 cases already identified

The number of poisonings reported to French poison control centres is rising. More than 600 cases have already been identified since 1 July 2023. The number of poisonings peaks every October.

These poisoning cases have been due to a variety of causes: mistaking a toxic species for an edible one, sometimes due to the use of a smartphone app for wild mushroom identification that provided incorrect information about the species picked, or consuming edible mushrooms that were in poor condition, undercooked or not stored properly.

In 2022, the number of poisoning cases was higher than in previous years

Between 1 July and 31 December 2022, 1923 cases of poisoning were reported to poison control centres in France.

While the total number of poisoning cases was higher than in previous years (1269 in 2021), the number of serious cases was down slightly, with 37 cases of high severity (compared with 41 in 2021), including two deaths (compared with 4 deaths in 2021).

Furthermore, despite the fact that they should not eat wild mushrooms, 74 young children were poisoned, including an 11-month-old child who contracted severe hepatitis requiring a stay in intensive care.

Among the 1923 poisoning cases, 30 people had used smartphone identification apps.

A reminder of good practices to avoid poisoning

Given that around a thousand people are poisoned in France every year (including a handful of deaths) due to the consumption of wild mushrooms, ANSES, the French poison control centres and the Directorate General for Health wish to reiterate the following:

  • Only pick mushrooms that you know very well: some highly poisonous fungi closely resemble edible species.
  • If you have the slightest doubt about the identification of any of the mushrooms you have picked, do not consume them until you have had them checked by a specialist: a pharmacist or a local mycology association.
  • Never feed the mushrooms you have picked to young children.
  • Do not consume wild mushrooms identified by a mushroom recognition app on a smartphone, due to the high risk of error.

Click here for all the advice you should follow before, during and after wild mushroom picking.