Health warning: eating wild mushroom could be deadly

Health Canada is warning consumers against eating large amounts of a certain wild mushroom. The mushroom is known under several names: Man-on-Horseback, Chevalier, yellow-knight fungus, canary trich, jaunet, and bidaou.

The scientific name is Tricholoma equestre.

Although the mushroom is seen as safe to eat by many, the department says eating large amounts may result in muscle degeneration or rhabdomyolysis.

The department quotes a Sept. 13 article in the New England Journal of Medicine. It linked 12 cases, between 1992 and 2000, of muscle destruction in adults after they ate several large meals of the mushroom. It was harvested in a coastal region of southwestern France. In three of those cases, the people died.

The initial symptoms of poisoning include muscle weakness and cramps, fatigue, sweating, and nausea, which may occur up to several days after ingestion.

Scientists have yet to isolate the toxic ingredient that causes the symptoms.

Health Canada advises people to limit their consumption to no more than one small portion (about 100 g uncooked weight) per week.

Officials say people should contact a doctor immediately if they experience the symptoms after eating wild mushrooms.