This past weekend brought another cautionary tale for all amateur foragers out there: Two elderly women died and four other people were sickened after consuming some wild mushroom soup at an assisted living facility in Placer County, California. Barbara Lopes, 86, and Teresa Olesniewicz, 73, both died Friday, and the caregiver who harvested the mushrooms and made the soup was also hospitalized, along with three others.
As the Sacramento Bee reports, sheriffs responded to a call Friday morning that several people had been sickened by poisonous mushrooms at the Gold Age Villa facility in Loomis, California. It's unclear what type of many poisonous mushrooms they were or how many were in the soup, but the most commonly found varieties in California are Amanita ocreata and Amanita phalloides, a.k.a. "destroying angel" and "death cap," respectively. Obviously, no foul play is suspected.
Foraging is dangerous business for obvious reasons. This tragic tale follows recent, widely publicized incidents of entire families becoming sickened and nearly killed after woodland mushroom picking and eating. A Santa Cruz family of six was hospitalized after one such event in 2007; two boys and their grandmother in Albany, California were sickened in 2009 after mushroom picking in Marin County; and just last month a Toledo family of five was among a rash of poison-mushroom-related hospitalizations in the area.
Mushrooms kill two seniors [Sac Bee]