CANBERRA, Feb 28. (Xinhua) -- Keen foragers have been warned to avoid picking mushrooms in Australia this autumn, with sightings of the deadly deathcap mushroom increasing in forests in the nation's southeast.
Australia's Food Safety Information Council has warned Australians and tourists - especially from Asia - against picking mushrooms throughout autumn, with the council's chair, Rachelle Williams explaining that the aptly-named deatchcaps can be fatal.
"Nine out of ten cases of mushroom poisoning in Australia result from deathcap mushrooms," Williams said in a statement on Tuesday.
"These mushrooms start to appear this time of year and have been found in the Canberra region, in and around Melbourne and even in Adelaide.
"They are not native to Australia and are often found near oak trees growing in warm wet weather during autumn. While no cases have been reported in New South Wales or Tasmania it may be possible that they grow there."
Williams said while the deathcaps can look like other, safe mushrooms - including edible mushrooms found in Asia - the safest way to acquire mushrooms for consumption was at the local supermarket.
"People born overseas, especially in Asian countries, should be aware that these deadly mushrooms can look like edible mushrooms that they may have gathered overseas," she said.
"Deathcap mushrooms are difficult to distinguish from other wild mushrooms so we recommend you play it safe and only eat mushrooms that you have purchased from the supermarket, greengrocer or other reputable source."
Williams added that the toxin in the deathcap could not be destroyed by cooking, and those who believe they are affected should call authorities immediately to avoid serious illness or death.
"Without early, effective medical intervention people may go into a coma and die after two or three weeks of liver and kidney failure," Williams said on Tuesday.