Australian commercial mushroom farms 'safe', industry says after fatal incident

According to Australia's mushroom industry it is ‘absolutely impossible’ that a grower could produce poison fungi. All mainstream mushroom and exotic fungi operations operate to the highest safety standards, and there is no chance toxic mushroom varieties could wind up in stores.

The industry is defending its supply chain standards after a woman who prepared a fatal lunch containing suspected toxic mushrooms at Leongatha told police they were purchased, not foraged.

Erin Patterson told police the fungi she used in the beef Wellington dish fed to her lunch guests on July 29 were a mixture of button mushrooms from a major supermarket and dried mushrooms from an Melbourne Asian grocery store. Three out of the four guests passed away, the fourth remains in a critical condition.

With the fungi industry growing every year, Australian Mushroom Growers Association deputy chair Georgia Beattie said producers were taking no risks with public health. "It is absolutely impossible for a poisonous mushroom to be grown in an Australian Agaricus bisporus commercial farm," said Ms Beattie, referring to the most commonly grown species of edible mushroom. "We make sure that every step along our growing process meets a certain certification and health and safety standards. If you want to know that it's safe, look for the Australian-grown logo."


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