Tokyo Food Safety Information Center » This is how food poisoning happens (household edition) » Food poisoning from mushroom picking

This is how food poisoning happens (household edition)3
Food poisoning from mushroom picking


In late September, three coworkers went mushroom picking in the mountains of Kanagawa Prefecture. Mr. A brought home two types of mushrooms. Around 6:30 pm, he sautéed them with eggplant and ate them with his family. Between several minutes and one hour after eating, Mr. A and two family members all experienced nausea and vomiting. Thereafter, they were diagnosed with food poisoning by a doctor.

A Public Health Center was notified and identified the mushrooms Mr. A had brought back from food leftovers, revealing one of them was the poisonous Entoloma rhodopolium.


Mr. A was a complete novice on mushrooms and had his coworker Mr. B identify the mushrooms for him. According to Mr. B, the mushrooms they picked that day included Macrolepiota procera, Cortinariaceae, Entoloma rhodopolium, Entoloma sarcopum, and Hygrophorus Russula, and the mushrooms Mr. A brought home were the latter two. Mr. A stated that some of the mushrooms he brought back looked a little different from the others but ate them anyway. It is believed that the cause of the incident was the mistaken identification of the poisonous Entoloma rhodopolium as the edible Entoloma sarcopum.

Key points for prevention

Entoloma rhodopolium, a poisonous mushroom, is also called meijin nakase (“expert’s tears”) in Japanese. It looks extremely similar to the edible Lyophyllum shimeji and Entoloma sarcopum and each year endless cases of food poisoning are caused by its misidentification. In this case, as well, the mistake was made by an extremely experienced enthusiast. It addition, many believe superstitions such as that cooking mushrooms with eggplant or simply sautéing them in oil will remove their poison, but needless to say, these beliefs are incorrect.

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