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False Morel Fungi

False Morel Fungi - poisonous when raw

According to Finnish regulations, anyone who sells fresh or dried false morels must display a warning that they are poisonous and must provide instructions for handling them. The Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira recommends that fresh false morels should only be sold to consumers by sales staff, rather than off the shelf, in order to ensure safety.

False morels are an exceptional food whose sale is permitted although they contain a naturally occurring toxin called gyromitrin. A large dose of gyromitrin causes acute poisoning. Gyromitrin and its metabolites are also carcinogenic compounds. Proper handling is required to avoid poisoning, and consumers in Finland are reminded of this each year.

Foreigners living in Finland may not be aware that false morels are poisonous or may not know how they should be handled.

If instructions for handling false morels are not displayed at sales points, control officials can forbid the sale of lots which do not comply with regulations. Products can be put back on sale after the necessary warnings have been added. Consumers can also notify municipal food control officials if labels are inadequate.

Evira has published brochures on the handling of false morels in Finnish, Swedish, English, German, French and Russian. The brochures can be obtained from municipal food control authorities and from Evira for display at sales points or for other information purposes.

Instructions for handling false morels

Boiling: False morels should be boiled twice in plenty of water (1 part mushrooms and 3 parts water) for at least five minutes and should be rinsed thoroughly in plenty of water after each boiling.

Drying: False morels can also be preserved by drying them until they are crisp. Dried false morels must be soaked for at least two hours before use (100 grams of mushrooms in 2 litres of water). After soaking they should be boiled and rinsed twice like fresh false morels.

Remember: Ensure proper ventilation whenever false morels are boiled or dried. Do not reuse the water in which false morels have been soaked or boiled.