Is This Mushroom Safe? Expert Fields More Concerned Calls During Pandemic (Tallahassee Democrat)

Is This Mushroom Safe? Expert Fields More Concerned Calls During Pandemic

For mushroom identification expert Matt Smith, spring is usually a slow time of year. “Mushrooms are less common during the spring in Florida, so this time of year I hardly have anyone contacting me about someone having eaten a mushroom that might be poisonous. But since everyone started staying home because of COVID-19, I’ve been getting more calls than usual,” said Smith, an associate professor of plant pathology at the University of Florida/IFAS.

A few factors related to the pandemic may be driving the uptick, Smith said. “People often get in touch because they want to know if a mushroom their child or pet ate was poisonous. With everyone being stuck at home, that probably increases the chances that a child or pet will come across a mushroom. If they look for answers online, they often find their way to my lab’s mushroom identification services,” Smith said. 

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