Australia warns of hospitalizations due to 'mushroom' gummies

By AFP   June 27, 2024 | 01:18 am PT
Australia warns of hospitalizations due to 'mushroom' gummies
Uncle Frog's Mushroom Gummies. Photo courtesy of the NSW Food Authority
Australian authorities have issued a recall alert for a brand of "mushroom" gummies, citing five hospitalizations and symptoms including "disturbing hallucinations".

Uncle Frog's Mushroom Gummies were sold in two versions: lion's mane mushrooms claiming to help "memory and focus" or cordyceps fungus offering "energy and power."

The packets promise to "elevate your day" but also say they have been "infused with Earth's finest hemp".

They are being recalled because both cordyceps and lion's mane are "unapproved novel food ingredients", said Food Standards Australia and New Zealand.

At least five people have been hospitalised after eating the gummies in the eastern state of New South Wales, the state's chief health officer said in a statement Wednesday.

Symptoms included "disturbing hallucinations", "drowsiness or loss of consciousness" and "seizure-like activity and involuntary movement such as arms/legs twitching, eye movement."

"Investigations are ongoing as to what these products contain. We are strongly recommending that people do not consume these products," said the medical director of the state's poisons information centre, Darren Roberts.

The food standards authority said Oz Brands Pty Ltd had issued a food recall.

It was unclear how much of the product had been sold.

The company's website was offline and its Facebook page had only one message: "We have currently permanently stopped the sales."

One Perth woman, Laura Jones, told national broadcaster ABC that she bought the gummies online to treat her anxiety.

"It was a bit strange because it was Aus$50 (US$33) for eight gummies, so it was quite expensive," she said.

"I had to be taken to hospital by ambulance. I was tachycardic, my heart rate was at 160," she was quoted as saying.

"It was the weirdest thing I had ever experienced. I felt really out of my body and I lost my short-term memory. It was a feeling of impending doom."

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