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Old 04-05-2003, 07:30 PM
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Brine Shrimp country
Posts: 322
Mushroom Food Poisoning Worse than Other Types?

Ok, I tried searching but found nothing, both on Google and the Dope.

First of all, this is not a question about poisonous types of mushrooms. We're talking about your ordinary garden-variety grocery store mushrooms.

My mother is convinced that mushrooms can kill you faster than anything else on this Earth. From childhood, I have been told, for health reasons, that-

1. Mushrooms must be cooked and peeled. I can see the reasoning behind this, as you never know what they've been grown in. This may be overly cautious, but it has some basis in fact. Then she tells me that...

2. Mushrooms must never be left in water for more than 5 minutes. Any water that has had mushrooms or bits of mushrooms in it is toxic. Mushrooms should never be left in the sink, or put down the garbage disposal or you will get sick and maybe die, and why don't you ever listen to your mother?

3. After an hour sitting out, mushrooms are toxic. If they are left out for more than 3 hours, even reheating them will not keep you from getting sick, as they attain super-powers. Your cousin's husband's sister almost died by eating meatloaf with mushrooms in it left out for 2 days.

4. Unlike other foods, mushrooms left out and then eaten do not just give you food poisoning, they will kill you. Food poisoning from mushrooms is much worse than other types, and can do immense harm.

Obviously alot of this is untrue, especially the part about my cousin's husband's sister, but I'm not sure about #'s 2 and 4. Is food poisoning from mushrooms much more dangerous than other types? How long can they be left out before becoming dangerous? What is it about water that makes mushrooms deadly?
Old 04-05-2003, 07:38 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 56,780
Re: Mushroom Food Poisoning Worse than Other Types?

Originally posted by Joyfulgirl
1. Mushrooms must be cooked and peeled.
This isn't true, for a start.
Old 04-05-2003, 07:43 PM
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 56,780
Actually, on further reading, it is all pretty inaccurate; mushrooms are quite a good growth medium for bacteria (largely because of their water content), but not nearly as good as raw chicken.

Water that has had mushrooms in it is called 'stock' in my household and it is far from toxic.

I'm a little confused about the idea of mushrooms being 'left out' - I ate some excellent field mushrooms last autumn, they had been 'left out' in an open field for a day or two. (contrary to popular belief, mushrooms, although they can be very fast-growing, usually take a couple of days to grow to worthwhile size.)
Old 04-05-2003, 07:47 PM
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
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...however, mushrooms generally should not be left in water (or washed, for that matter) as they are rather absorbent. Certainly for many wild mushrooms like Ceps and Chantarelles, washing them will ruin the texture.

Of course, if you're making soup, then you ptretty much have to put them in water, but you'd probably sautee them first.

Sorry for the fragmentary nature of my reply.
Old 04-05-2003, 08:06 PM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Silicon Valley
Posts: 9,515
Most of what your mother taught you is pure banana oil.

  • Commercially raised mushrooms are grown in near-sterile conditions. Mycological cultures are extremely susceptible to invasion by other molds and fungi. Although you will always hear how mushrooms are grown in steer manure, that manure is first sterizilzed completely to avoid other invasive cultures from ruining the crop.
  • If the water a mushroom has soaked in becomes toxic, then so is the mushroom. Since all commercially distributed mushrooms that you will see in grocery stores are not toxic, raw or cooked, then the water they are soaked in cannot become toxic. Besides, you never soak mushrooms as this destroys their texture.

    This does not apply to wild mushrooms gathered in the field. However, that is an entirely different matter. Your mother's misperceptions may be based on certain practices and precautions surrounding wild mushrooms.
  • Mushrooms are grown in an environment that is carefully kept near room temperature. Exposure of picked mushrooms to these same temperatures cannot possibly cause toxins to spontaneously manifest. Your relative was poisoned by meat that had spoiled due to improper storage. I could bake a meatloaf right now and leave it tightly covered on my counter and it would be perfectly safe to eat two days later. High temperature cooking sterilizes most bacteria contained in food.
  • How then, do you explain all the dried mushrooms they sell in markets around the world? They are left out for an incredibly extended period of time in order to dehydrate them. This has been done for thousands of years and is an accepted food practice. You are confusing the highly toxic nature of toadstools and other poisonous mushrooms with what you are calling "food poisoning from mushrooms."

The level of food related ignorance your mother is exhibiting nears excruciating proportions. Stupidity should be painful.
Old 04-05-2003, 08:29 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 2
azurenscens are my fav. yummy!
"When you make your peace with authority, you become authority." ~ Jim Morrison
Old 04-05-2003, 08:30 PM
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Brine Shrimp country
Posts: 322
Originally posted by Zenster
<snip>Your relative was poisoned by meat that had spoiled due to improper storage. <snip>
Actually, they weren't. That was just a scare tactic.

Experience tells me that most of what she said was untrue. I eat raw mushrooms all the time without peeling, have actually used mushroom stock and dried mushrooms, etc. But the food poisoning and inability to reheat cooked mushrooms are what I was really wondering about. Now that that's cleared up, I can go eat the stir-fry I made last night without fear.

She's actually a lovely mother and pretty smart, but she "used to be a nurse", which just means that she's forgotten everything she's ever learned about safety, but not the paranoia. I'm still wondering where the garbage disposal and mushrooms = sure death thing came from.

Old 04-05-2003, 08:32 PM
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Cambridge. No, the UK one
Posts: 4,272
I'm dead.
Old 04-05-2003, 10:12 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 22
The main problem with mushrooms is that some people like to pick them in the wild, and every year this city has one or two who get kidney failure. Always the same story "Not only have I had experience and training, I've been doing this for years in the same patch in the woods and never had a problem." But all the poisonings are from people who are sure they know what they're doing, or their poor trusting children who were told to eat up.
* Sooner or Later, love is gonna getcha *
Old 04-06-2003, 07:35 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 25,727
Just a couple additional points.

First of all, not all mushroom are grown in manure. Personally, what the 'shroom grew up in has never been a major worry for me, but if it freaks you out, you might find it reassuring that shiitakes are grown on oak logs, not animal waste products.

Second, although some mushrooms may not be toxic raw, they may be indigestable or cause indigestion. The common white and crimini (portabella) mushrooms don't fall into this category, but some others do. These latter ones are not generally found in the supermarket so it's usually a situation where you can ask the seller about proper preparation.
Old 04-06-2003, 04:24 PM
Join Date: May 1999
Posts: 5,432
Originally posted by Broomstick
... shiitakes are grown on oak logs, not animal waste products.
There goes my theory re: word origin. :P
Old 04-06-2003, 07:06 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 463
I thought that eating poison mushrooms caused liver failure, not kidney failure.

Besides that, I love the hell out of mushrooms!
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