Hi, I’m new here but was hoping to get some advice from people who know about these things.
I think I might have stepped on what looked like a crushed, mushed mushroom on the floor in a field whilst walking my dog. (I’m based in the UK.)
I’m worried that it might have been poisonous and if so, could any of its toxins end up on my shoes, potentially spreading to other shoes when I put them away in a shoe rack, and potentially therefore end up on my hands when I put any of my shoes on.
This might not seem like a problem but I’m worried that if all of that is possible, if I then ate something with my hands after touching my shoes, could that lead to me ingesting some toxins and be poisoned.
Any advice and insight would be greatly appreciated over whether this is something I should worry about or not.
Many thanks in advance.
I’m not a mushroom expert, but, from what I’ve read/heard, you should not be worried. A thread with answer to this from more experienced mushroom folks is:
I wouldn’t worry about it. You can touch a toxic mushroom without a problem but just don’t eat them. Wash your hands to be extra careful.
You have a concern.
Please wipe the soles of the shoes with a disinfectant wipe. Let them air dry before putting away. (Please check that the disinfectant will not harm your shoe, try in small area first)
Thanks, you’re right that I personally have a concern, but what I’m trying to ascertain is whether I should or not?
Or if in reality this is a scenario I don’t need to worry about
Thank you for your reply. Do you therefore think that to touch something which might have come into contact with a mushroom and then proceed to eat without first washing hands would be ok?
This is not something to worry about. There are a few toadstools in the UK that are potentially lethal if eaten (the Death Cap speaks for itself), but none that is so hugely poisonous that just touching it is toxic, let alone touching something that might have touched it earlier. The danger is in eating the toadstool in mistake for something else.
Thanks for your reply. Do you think that holds true if you were to touch something that might have touched a mushroom and then eat say an apple with your hands?
I know I sound absolutely paranoid but trying to navigate this thought process and ascertain whether or not it holds a legitimate concern or not. For context, I have OCD.
Not to add to your concerns - but - the apple probably has agri-chemicals on it. Wash both apple and hands?
You’re fine. No mushrooms are dangerous just to touch, especially in trace amounts like that. Don’t go like rubbing destroying angels into your mucous membranes or anything, but just stepping on it, even if it was the mostly deadly mushroom in the world, isn’t going to do any harm.
Disinfectant is designed to kill germs, not inactivate toxic chemicals. I don’t think you are in danger here, but I would like to dispel the myth that you can disinfect inanimate chemicals
Welcome @mcg! Echoing @lothlin here: you should be fine. I get the OCD aspect, though. If you’re still worried, wash the pup’s paws and the bottoms of your shoes. Dry with paper toweling or napkins, so that you can toss them afterwards. That really is more than you need to do for safety, but I understand that peace of mind requires somewhat more.
There is no point in using disinfectant to wash off a smear of mushroom. But if you do, be sure to wash off the disinfectant. You wouldn’t want any of that to get into your gut. Water is quite good for washing purposes.
Thanks for your reply. @lothlin so you think that even if you touched maybe some debris of a mushroom on anothsr item like your shoe laces, and then ate an apple without washing hands inbetween, you’d be ok and not have anything to worry about?
Thanks for your reply @GothHobbit it really is all about peace of mind but I’d like to try at least to get that through knowledge from people who know how mushrooms can poison you.
Unfortunately I can see my OCD saying I need to clean my shoes every time I step on something in a field which maybe resembles a mushroom. If that is the case, and that is what you should do for health reasons - fine, I will do that.
But if knowledge on this matter says otherwise, I’ll go with that too. I just don’t personally possess that knowledge so your help and that of others is really appreciated. Thanks again
You’ll be fine. The biggest worry toxins are the ones you’re going to find in Amanita sect. phalloideae, those being amatoxins and phallotoxins. AFAIK phallotoxins are not absorbed through the digestive tract (I don’t think they can survive the stomach acid,) so your big worry is amatoxins, and you still need to eat a full cap or two’s worth of mushroom before you really have to worry about your liver melting, so trace amounts on your hands shouldn’t be a worry.
(there are other mushrooms that contain amatoxins that aren’t amanitas, but still - trace amounts aren’t enough volume to really hurt.)
Same goes for mushrooms that cause more general GI stress or things like altered mental states - a few molecules on your hands or whatever isn’t going to cause any issues unless you’re literally consuming a concentrated form of the compound, and you’re just not going to run into that with a wild mushroom.
Might i suggest spending some time learning about mushroom identification and what occurs in your area that is safe and what are things that are poisonous? It might help assuage your mind, I find knowledge is a great counter to fear and uncertainty.
EDIT: All that said, and this goes for everyone - there are mushrooms that are dangerous, so if you’re planning on foraging/eating wild mushrooms please do your research, don’t rely on apps or computer vision for your IDs because they are often wrong, and never be afraid to ask someone for help if you’re unsure on your ID.
It may be reassuring to know that mushroom experts are often willing to do nibble-and-spit tasting of unknown mushrooms to record if the taste is wildly bitter/acrid. It’s generally considered safe even for toxic species.
(A non-bitter taste test certainly doesn’t mean it’s edible, but doing the taste test alone won’t hurt you.)
I’m neurodivergent with some OCD-ish traits and i totally find this relatable. But with this one, you’re in good shape. There’s no mushroom that is going to hurt you that way. Whether or not your brain will believe you is another story :/
Did this five minutes ago :D
EDIT: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/188838466 on this mushroom Did it help me figure it out? Maybe! Will I be able to ID it easily? Probably not without sequencing!
Fungi are great