Mushroom picking: what you need to know to avoid poisoning

Autumn and the mushroom season will soon begin. Before feasting on mushrooms freshly picked in the forest, some essential information and precautions to take to avoid any risk of poisoning.

Mushroom picking will soon be in full swing with the lake’s fall season coming up. With its share of incidents and poisonings which, in most cases, are associated with confusion with edible mushrooms. Hence the importance of remaining vigilant, whether you are a connoisseur or you practice picking punctually. ANSES reminds you of some rigorous advice:

We don’t know a mushroom, we don’t pick it up

A little checklist is better than a long speech:

  • Collect only perfectly known mushrooms: some highly toxic poisonous mushrooms are very similar to edible species
  • In the slightest doubt about the condition or the identification: do not pick up and/or do not consume
  • Collect only specimens in good condition and take the entire mushroom (stem and cap), in order to allow identification
  • Do not pick mushrooms near polluted sites (roadsides, industrial areas or wastelands, landfills)
  • Separate the harvested mushrooms well by species, to avoid mixing pieces of poisonous mushrooms with edible mushrooms and examine the mushrooms one by one
  • Place the mushrooms separately, in a crate, basket or cardboard box, but never in a plastic bag which accelerates rotting and makes them inedible

The only way to avoid poisoning is to learn to recognize edible species as well as the few deadly species in our regions. With a specialist, and not just by consulting a book and a few photos.

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Precautions to take at home

Other precautions are necessary

  • Wash hands thoroughly after harvest
  • Store the mushrooms separately and in good conditions in the refrigerator and consume them within two days at the most after picking.
  • Consume mushrooms in reasonable quantities after sufficient and optimal cooking (10 to 30 minutes) and never eat them raw
  • Never offer picked mushrooms to young children

A useful reflex: photograph the picking before cooking!

The photo will be useful to the pharmacist or the doctor of the Antipoisons Center

in case of intoxication, to decide on the appropriate treatment.

In case of suspected poisoning or symptoms (diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, tremors, dizziness, visual disturbances, etc.), only one number, 15.

Link to ANSES’s full page on mushrooms



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