ANU College of Science

Experts Caution Against Wild Mushroom Consumption Following Clunes Health Retreat Tragedy

A tragic incident unfolded at a health retreat in Clunes, Victoria, where a 53-year-old woman lost her life after consuming a beverage. 

The health retreat is known for offering various wellness services, including facials using “wild foraged plants”, and hosting events where guests could engage with “spirit communications”.

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The health retreat is now under scrutiny by detectives from the Moorabool Crime Investigation Unit.

Victoria Police were alerted around midnight on Sunday about the woman’s deteriorating health, suspected to be linked to the drink she ingested. 

Two other individuals who consumed the same beverage were promptly rushed to Ballarat Base Hospital.

Victorian experts remind individuals to not consume wild mushrooms, as wet and cooler weather provides the ideal growing conditions for certain types of mushrooms.

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Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Clare Looker said: “We’re urging Victorians not to pick and consume wild mushrooms, doing so can have serious consequences for your health.”

Dr Looker said it would be very difficult to distinguish between poisonous and edible wild mushrooms, and he advised people to only consume commercially bought mushrooms.

“If you suspect you may have consumed a poisonous mushroom, seek medical attention immediately. Do not wait for symptoms to appear.”

People should contact the Victorian Poisons Information Centre immediately on 13 11 26 for assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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