Australian mushroom growers are assuring the public that store-bought mushrooms are safe to eat, in the wake of a suspected poisonous mushroom incident that killed three people.
Erin Patterson, the woman who allegedly cooked the fatal meal wrote in a statement that the mushrooms used were a mixture of button mushrooms purchased at a major supermarket chain, and dried mushrooms bought at an Asian grocery store in Melbourne months previously.
The Australian Mushroom Growers Association said commercially grown mushrooms, produced in Australia, are safe and high quality.
"If you want safe mushrooms, buy fresh, Australian-grown mushrooms," a spokesperson said.
They said it was impossible that death cap mushrooms and other dangerous varieties could grow in commercial operations that produce Agaricus bisporus mushrooms.
Agaricus bisporus are the species of commercially grown mushrooms commonly found at Australian supermarkets and greengrocers, they include varieties such as white button, flat mushrooms, Swiss brown and portobello mushrooms.
They are grown indoors in environmentally controlled rooms with strict hygiene protocols and food safety standards.
"The information coming from growers is accurate and when it comes to cultivated specimens in supermarkets, there is no chance that wild mushrooms would be entering into that sort of stuff," professional forager Anna Matilda said.
Ms Matilda leads foraging workshops but said she steers clear of white mushrooms.
"The risks are high, and there are a lot more toxic white mushrooms around now than there ever were 30 or 40 years ago," she said.
"They've been spread around as foraging became more popular. People will go out on a day trip somewhere in the country and they might pick something and bring it home with them, spreading the spores so that species now lives in a totally different area."
Death cap mushrooms can be confused for edible varieties. Death cap mushrooms contain a compound known as amanitin, which is toxic to humans, targeting the liver and kidneys, resulting in death.
High-profile food contamination incidents in recent years have impacted produce sales.
In December 2022, around 200 people were poisoned after eating spinach that had been contaminated with a species of nightshade.
Vegetable peak industry body AusVeg reported diminished spinach sales across the country at the time, despite the contaminated product coming from a single farm.
And in 2018, a food tampering incident occurred involving sewing needles inserted into Australian strawberries.
"A single act of commercial terrorism has brought a multi-million dollar industry to its knees," Queensland Strawberry Growers Association vice president Adrian Schultz said at the time.
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