Chinese kitchen workers die from picking,cooking & eating deathcap mushrooms

A close friend of the two victims of a deadly death cap mushroom dish wants better warnings in the ACT about the dangers of picking wild mushrooms.

Tom O’Dea wants a public health campaign that will prevent future fatalities from the poisonous death caps, which claimed the lives of chef Liu Jun, 38, and kitchenhand Tsou Hsiang, 52.

Mr Liu and Ms Tsou died from liver failure after eating the death cap mushrooms in a stir-fry Mr Liu prepared after work at the Harmonie German Club in Narrabundah on New Year’s Eve.

Speaking after a memorial service for the pair at the weekend, Mr O’Dea said, ”We’ve got to make sure this never happens again.

”The message has got to be do not pick wild mushrooms.”

Signs warning people about death cap mushrooms already exist in parts of the ACT where the world’s most deadly mushrooms are known to grow.

ACT Health issued a reminder on New Year’s Day that Canberra residents should steer clear of death caps, and runs education campaigns in schools about the dangers of wild mushrooms.

Fact sheets about the mushrooms are also available on the Health directorate’s web page, and last year were published in a Chinese publication available in Canberra.

Representatives of ACT Health, including its chief officer Paul Kelly, met with members of Canberra’s Chinese community last week to begin discussions about whether public warnings about death cap mushrooms could be improved.

At Saturday’s memorial service, Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said further meetings would determine what steps could be taken. Canberra Multicultural Community Forum chairman Sam Wong, who is part of the consultations, said the ACT Government might have to consider more focused campaigns that target new Canberra residents, recent migrants or specific age groups, such as the elderly.

He said the message about the dangers of wild mushrooms could be made clearer through new multimedia advertisements, or by changing warning signs around the ACT so they could be understood by residents and visitors who did not speak English.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

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