Warning against wild mushroom foraging ahead of seasonal bloom

Warning against wild mushroom foraging ahead of seasonal bloom

17 April 2023

The NSW Poisons Information Centre (NSWPIC) is warning against foraging for and ingesting wild mushrooms, with the seasonal bloom now underway as the weather cools down.

In 2022, the NSWPIC received 382 calls regarding mushroom poisoning. Of these, 159 were from people consuming wild mushrooms intentionally, either from foraging for food or recreationally, while there were 196 mushroom exposures in children, almost all accidental.

Genevieve Adamo, Senior Specialist in Poisons Information at the NSWPIC, said foraging for and eating wild mushrooms is not recommended, as many can cause serious poisoning and lead to hospitalisation. 

“Mushrooms in the wild that can cause serious poisoning can easily be mistaken for edible mushrooms, so it is best to completely avoid picking and eating wild mushrooms,” Mrs Adamo said. 

“Some poisonous mushrooms in Australia look very similar to edible mushrooms. It is even difficult for some experts to tell the difference by looking at a mushroom, so it is simply not worth the risk.” 

If ingested, certain wild mushrooms can cause serious poisoning, including severe vomiting and diarrhea, and some can lead to liver and kidney damage.  

Symptoms of mushroom poisoning generally occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating the mushrooms, depending on the mushroom type and amount eaten. 

“Cooking or boiling toxic wild mushrooms also does not make them safe to eat, which is why we advise against foraging and encourage people to eat mushrooms from a reputable supermarket, grocer or market,” Mrs Adamo said. 

“Parents are also encouraged to check the garden each day before allowing children to play to prevent accidental exposures in children. Wild mushrooms can pop up overnight, so it is important they are removed and disposed of as soon as they appear,” Mrs Adamo said. 

Anyone who is exposed to wild mushrooms should call the Poisons Information Centre (13 11 26) immediately, regardless of the onset of symptoms. In some exposures, symptoms can be delayed but early treatment is vital.  

In an emergency, people should call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance, or seek medical treatment through their doctor or local emergency department. 



Lucie Bertoldo, Media and Communications Officer, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network. 

0439 875 235 or lucie.bertoldo@health.nsw.gov.au 


Last updated Wednesday 25th October 2023