Can old mushrooms make you sick? Tips to avoid food poisoning

Mushrooms are a popular food that many people love. They are used in various food recipes, and some people even eat them raw. However, mushrooms are notorious for going bad quickly. Can old mushrooms make you sick? The answer may surprise you. In this article, we will discuss the dangers of eating old mushrooms and give tips on how to avoid food poisoning.

The Dangers of Eating Old Mushrooms

When you eat mushrooms, you are taking a risk. Mushrooms are a type of fungi that grow in damp and dark environments. As such, they are prone to bacteria and toxins. If you eat old mushrooms, you risk consuming harmful bacteria and toxins that can cause food poisoning. The symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and fever.

1. Bacterial Infections

The most common cause of food poisoning from mushrooms is bacterial infections. Old mushrooms can harbor harmful bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella, that can cause severe illness. These bacteria thrive in warm and moist environments, making them a common risk for mushrooms left out at room temperature.

2. Toxicity

Sometimes mushrooms can become toxic if they are old, spoiled, or contaminated with poisons. Some mushrooms contain toxins that can cause liver damage or even death if ingested. It is important to recognize the signs of toxic mushrooms before consuming them.

3. Mold Growth

Old mushrooms can also become moldy, which can be dangerous to consume. Mold can produce mycotoxins that can cause allergic reactions or respiratory problems. If you see mold on your mushrooms, it is best to discard them immediately.

Tips to Avoid Food Poisoning

While mushrooms can be delicious, it is essential to ensure that they are not spoiled before consuming them. Here are some tips to help you avoid food poisoning from old mushrooms:

1. Buy Fresh Mushrooms

The foundation of food safety is buying fresh ingredients. When buying mushrooms, choose those that are firm, dry, and free from blemishes. Fresh mushrooms have a distinct earthy aroma that is absent from old ones.

2. Store Mushrooms Properly

Mushrooms should always be stored in airtight containers to avoid contamination. You can also store them in a paper bag in the refrigerator for longer shelf life. When you are ready to cook, inspect your mushrooms carefully for any signs of spoilage, such as discoloration or sliminess.

3. Cook Mushrooms Thoroughly

Cooking mushrooms thoroughly is essential to kill any bacteria or toxins that may be present. You should cook mushrooms until they are soft and tender, and their internal temperature has reached at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are unsure, use a food thermometer to check the temperature.

4. Don’t Eat Mushrooms That Don’t Look Right

If your mushrooms have any discoloration, sliminess, or unusual odor, do not eat them. It is always better to err on the side of caution than to risk illness. If in doubt, discard the mushrooms.


Mushrooms can be a healthy and delicious addition to any meal, but it is essential to handle them with care. Eating old mushrooms can be harmful, causing bacterial infections, toxicity, and mold growth. To prevent food poisoning, buy fresh mushrooms, store them properly, cook them thoroughly, and do not eat mushrooms that do not look right. By following these tips, you can enjoy delicious and healthy mushrooms without risking your health.

The Most Common Questions and Answers

  • 1. Can old mushrooms make you sick?
    • Yes, eating old mushrooms can cause food poisoning or toxicity.
  • 2. What are the signs of spoilage in mushrooms?
    • Discoloration, sliminess, unusual odor, or mold growth.
  • 3. How can you prevent food poisoning from mushrooms?
    • Buy fresh mushrooms, store them properly, cook them thoroughly, and do not eat mushrooms that do not look right.
  • 4. What should you do if you think you have food poisoning from mushrooms?
    • Seek medical attention immediately.


  • FDA, “Bad Bug Book: Foodborne Pathogenic Microorganisms and Natural Toxins Handbook”
  • USDA, “Mushroom facts”
  • CDC, “Mushroom Poisoning”
  • Food Safety News, “Mushroom Common Sense”

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