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Thread: The risks of fungi foraging

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    Moderator jus_young's Avatar
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    The risks of fungi foraging

    Please take note folks, and remember that if you really need to ask advice on i.d. on Natural Bushcraft then you REALLY DONT KNOW!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-29480017

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    Ranger OakAshandThorn's Avatar
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    84??? Ye Gods that's scary...
    Foraging rule number 1: "If in doubt, LEAVE IT OUT".
    Foraging rule number 2: Confirm ID by cross-checking with multiple (no less than 2) sources
    My blog, New England Bushcraft

    "Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."
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    C5 news asked me to go to London for an interview on this on Friday - couldn't do it because I was booked for a talk in Brighton. I console myself by telling myself that nobody watches C5 news anyway!

    ITV news also asked me for "ten tips" to put on their website:

    http://www.itv.com/news/2014-10-03/1...oms-in-the-uk/

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    Tribesman
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    Quote Originally Posted by OakAshandThorn View Post
    84??? Ye Gods that's scary...
    Foraging rule number 1: "If in doubt, LEAVE IT OUT".
    Foraging rule number 2: Confirm ID by cross-checking with multiple (no less than 2) sources
    A medic, on BBC radio last week, suggested 80-90 cases a year is normal.
    Nobody wins, unless everybody wins

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    Ranger OakAshandThorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rossbird View Post
    A medic, on BBC radio last week, suggested 80-90 cases a year is normal.
    It's never been more than 40 reported cases in the entire region here...
    My blog, New England Bushcraft

    "Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."
    ~ Abraham Lincoln

    "Be prepared, not scared."
    ~ Cody Lundin

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    Natural Born Bushcrafter saxonaxe's Avatar
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    Those poisoning figures set me thinking...and digging..no not for Mushrooms...

    The 237 figure given for 'Last year' (2013) from the National Poisons Information Service is for public enquiries related to poisoning by various substances/liquids...A proportion only, of those enquiries involved Mushrooms/Fungi. It's easy to read that there were 237 cases of Mushroom/Fungi poisoning..there wasn't.

    Just as an example in 2008 there were 147 public enquiries at NPIS, again about various causes of poisoning. 46 cases were identified as Fungi poisoning.

    The increase in Mushroom/Fungi poisoning, according to the statistics, has increased noticably in recent years. Whether we like it or not, and this is purely my own opinion,I suspect part of the problem is the rise in Living off the Land, Bushcraft, Survival type cultures. The other influence is the rise in the Natural foods, Television, Media type encouragement for people to get out and forage...
    Maybe the 84 recorded cases so far this Autumn supports that view, if not I'd be interested to know why or what has caused people to grub around in the countryside munching 'foods' which put them in Ward 3 Nil by mouth.....

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    Ranger Ehecatl's Avatar
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    It makes you wonder if there's a link between the number of fungi poisoning cases and the UK Retail Index. Does a higher index mean more foraging in general? I dunno.

    I was intrugued and did a quick search as I wondered what the proportion of fungi poisoning cases was to "general" food poisoning. Apparently there were around 5 million cases of food poisoning in the UK last year. Are folks eating raw 5 day old road kill too?
    Last edited by Ehecatl; 06-10-2014 at 01:41 PM. Reason: Grammar! Tut!
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    Quote Originally Posted by saxonaxe View Post
    Those poisoning figures set me thinking...and digging..no not for Mushrooms...

    The 237 figure given for 'Last year' (2013) from the National Poisons Information Service is for public enquiries related to poisoning by various substances/liquids...A proportion only, of those enquiries involved Mushrooms/Fungi. It's easy to read that there were 237 cases of Mushroom/Fungi poisoning..there wasn't.

    Just as an example in 2008 there were 147 public enquiries at NPIS, again about various causes of poisoning. 46 cases were identified as Fungi poisoning.

    The increase in Mushroom/Fungi poisoning, according to the statistics, has increased noticably in recent years. Whether we like it or not, and this is purely my own opinion,I suspect part of the problem is the rise in Living off the Land, Bushcraft, Survival type cultures. The other influence is the rise in the Natural foods, Television, Media type encouragement for people to get out and forage...
    Maybe the 84 recorded cases so far this Autumn supports that view, if not I'd be interested to know why or what has caused people to grub around in the countryside munching 'foods' which put them in Ward 3 Nil by mouth.....
    I have been foraging for wild mushrooms for nearly 30 years. When I started doing it, almost nobody else in the UK did it. Now loads of people do it. The reasons can be broken down into two cultural changes. The first is people getting interested in re-learning all sorts of forgotten/ancient skills/knowledge, including everything from foraging and knitting to pre-Christian forms of religion. And yes this is partly connected to "survivalism", self-sufficiency and a growing unease about the direction our civilisation is heading in. At the same time, there has been a culinary revolution in Britain - in terms of our eating habits, we've gone from being the most backward European nation, known only for roast dinners and fish and chips, to being a European leader in this area, influenced not only by European cuisine but food traditions from all over the world. Both of these things lead people towards an interest in foraging for mushrooms, not least via TV personalities like Hugh F-W and Ray Mears.

    Unfortunately, some people are more interested in making money out these trends than helping people to do it safely. Case in point is the following book, which should probably be banned...

    Mushrooming with Confidence. Merlin Unwin Books (Alexander Schwab, 2011)(13):

    As an example of how not to write a book on mushroom foraging, this one takes some beating. Both the title and the blarb emphasise how it will enable readers to forage safely. Unfortunately this is just marketing copy - people want a book that will turn them into a mushrooming expert, without having to do any hard graft, so that's what this book claims to be. However, despite telling us that safe and unsafe species resemble each other, the book itself, which covers 30 edible species, contains no information at all on the unsafe species, including those that are regularly misidentified as the edible species featured. We are told that "Mushrooming with Confidence will extinguish any fear or doubt that might stop you from hunting down your own delicious mushrooms." A more accurate title would be "Mushrooming with potentially-fatal misplaced confidence".
    Last edited by Geoff Dann; 06-10-2014 at 01:47 PM.

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    Natural Born Bushcrafter saxonaxe's Avatar
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    That's interesting about the book Geoff, I wonder, just out of curiosity, if someone published a book " How to re-wire your home" with advice, for example, about connecting the 'yellow and green wire to the terminal maked +' ..What the reaction from official bodies would be? Instant uproar and cleared bookshelves I imagine..

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    Quote Originally Posted by saxonaxe View Post
    That's interesting about the book Geoff, I wonder, just out of curiosity, if someone published a book " How to re-wire your home" with advice, for example, about connecting the 'yellow and green wire to the terminal maked +' ..What the reaction from official bodies would be? Instant uproar and cleared bookshelves I imagine..
    Indeed. Or perhaps a book about "how to rewire your home" which, having warned you in the blarb how dangerous it can be, neglects to inform you that you need to turn the power off before you start work.

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