FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — The lush backyard of a small California eldercare home has turned out to be the source of the poisonous wild mushrooms a caretaker made into a soup and fed to residents, killing two women.
The caretaker had no idea the mushrooms that had sprouted after recent rains were toxic, law enforcement officials said Tuesday. She was among the four others who were hospitalized Friday after six people ate the toxic soup Thursday night.
“The caretaker just didn’t know, and she went outside and picked these mushrooms and made dinner, and she ate some of it herself,” said Lt. Mark Reed of the Placer County sheriff’s office. “It’s definitely a sad, sad thing.”
Sheriff’s investigators were quickly able to pinpoint the soup as the source of the poisonings, Reed said, because the only person living at the home who did not eat dinner that night did not fall ill.
Food regulations for the California Department of Social Services do not prohibit the use of foraged ingredients in food, though they do prevent the use of home-canned foods and things such as unpasteurized milk, and meat that isn’t inspected by state or federal authorities.
Spokesman Michael Weston said the state has begun an investigation into the incident at the Gold Age Villa, a six-bed care facility in Loomis run since 2007 by Raisa Oselsky.