The Australian Mushroom Growers Association (AMGA) has denounced claims that death mushrooms served at a luncheon that killed three people were bought from a grocer.
Erin Patterson invited her former in-laws Don and Gail Patterson, sister Gail Heather and her pastor husband Ian to her property in the Gippsland region of Victoria on July 29 for a slice of beef Wellington. The meal is believed to have contained poisonous wild mushrooms.
Don, 70, Gail, 70, and Heather, 66, have since passed away and Ian is battling for life in hospital awaiting a liver transplant.
Ms Patterson provided Victoria Police with a written sworn statement on Friday saying she had bought a pack of dried mushrooms with a handwritten label from an Asian grocery store in the Melbourne suburb of Mount Waverley at least three months before lunch .
But AMGA said on Tuesday “it is impossible” for mortuary mushrooms and other dangerous varieties to be grown and harvested in commercial operations because they “only grow in the wild”.
The Australian Mushroom Growers Association (AMGA) says death cap funghi served at a luncheon that killed three people, were bought from a grocer
Erin Patterson (pictured), who used the mushrooms in a deadly beef wellington, claims she bought the dried mushrooms from an Asian grocer at least three months ago
“AMGA sends its deepest condolences to the families of those affected by the recent Leongatha tragedy and to the entire Gippsland community,” the statement read.
“Given the recent focus on mushrooms, AMGA feels it necessary to inform the public that commercially grown mushrooms produced in Australia are safe and of high quality. If you want safe mushrooms, buy fresh mushrooms grown in Australia.
The association went on to say that the mushrooms “grow indoors in environmentally controlled rooms with strict hygiene protocols and food safety standards.”
The claims come after Asian grocers in Mount Waverley also vehemently rejected any suggestion that Ms Patterson could have purchased killer mushrooms from their stores.
Daily Mail Australia visited Asian grocers in and around the heart of the bustling suburban shopping district on Tuesday
Located on Hamilton Place, TK Asian Supermarket is by far the largest and most popular of its kind.
Two vendors told Daily Mail Australia they had never heard of anyone falling ill from eating mushrooms bought from their store.
One of the shopkeepers said the very idea of someone getting sick from store bought dried mushrooms seemed “crazy” to him.
The meal killed Gail and Don Patterson, Erin’s former in-laws, and Gail’s sister, Heather Wilkinson, while putting Mrs. Wilkinson’s husband, Pastor Ian, in serious condition.
“Yeah, dried poisonous mushrooms. I don’t know about that,” he said.
“We don’t know if she bought them here. I saw it on the news, but I don’t really remember.
The shopkeeper said none of their mushrooms were labeled in the way Ms Patterson allegedly described her purchase to the police.
“She said it was a handwritten white label and we never sold it,” he said.
Around the corner, Daily Mail Australia received similar responses from the East Mart and 28 Mart.
East Mart didn’t even sell dried mushrooms, with the shopkeeper – via the use of Google Translate – showing his fridge stocked only with fresh or frozen mushrooms.
28 Mart’s dried mushroom products were all neatly labelled, with this trader also disputing claims that poisonous dried mushrooms had been sold at Mount Waverley.
“I sell dried mushrooms, do you want to try? asked the shopkeeper.
It is not suggested that any of the stores featured sold poisonous mushrooms.
TK Asian Supermarket staff have refuted claims that poisonous mushrooms are coming out of Mount Waverley. It is not suggested that any of the stores featured sold poisonous mushrooms
The dried mushrooms sold at the nearby 28 Mart were all clearly labeled. None were blank or handwritten
People continue to buy dried mushrooms. No alerts were issued to indicate that they should not
The latest health advisories and alerts issued by Victoria’s Director of Health, as well as the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) recall database, show that only one mushroom alert has been listed this year.
This alert pertained to the recall of Enoki Mushrooms by Natural Mushrooms due to an incorrect use-by date of July 13, 2023, “increasing the risk of Listeria infection for consumers”.
However, these mushrooms did not have handwritten labels on their packaging.
Ms Patterson has denied any wrongdoing and no charges are expected to be brought at this stage of the investigation.
Daily Mail Australia does not suggest Ms Patterson was responsible for any of the poisonings or deaths.