“Poisonous” foraging: Major cookbook recalled over food safety concerns

“Poisonous” foraging: Major cookbook recalled over food safety concerns

16 Aug 2018 --- An Instagram star’s cookbook featuring foraging recipes including the use of wild, raw mushrooms and immature elderberries has been pulled from the shelves following a backlash over food safety concerns.

“Tales From A Forager's Kitchen,” by US author Johnna Holmgren, who is also known as Fox Meets Bear and has over 130,000 followers on Instagram – has been pulled by publisher Rodale Books. 

It features around 80 recipes and includes so-called “foraging tips,” but readers have heavily criticized the book expressing concern that some recipes include ingredients like raw morels in mushrooms which can cause vomiting and diarrhea (this is eradicated through cooking).

The book also features elderberries which if picked at an immature stage, have toxic properties and are poisonous. 

A disclaimer on Holmgren’s website says: “While I strive to be 100 percent accurate, it is solely up to the reader to ensure proper plant identification. Some wild plants are poisonous or can have serious adverse health effects. I am not a health professional, medical doctor, nor a nutritionist. It is up to the reader to verify nutritional information and health benefits with qualified professionals for all edible plants listed on this website and any published content.”Click to Enlarge

Anyone who has purchased the book is being offered a full refund.

Rodale Books released a statement following the backlash. 

“Rodale Books and our author Johnna Holmgren take very seriously the concerns expressed by readers regarding the preparation and cooking of recipes with raw ingredients (mushrooms and elderberries) that are contained in her recently published 'Tales from a Forager’s Kitchen',” it says.

“In light of our review of these concerns, and because of our dedication to wellness, Rodale Books and Johnna Holmgren have decided to discontinue the publication and promotion of the book. We are encouraging retailers to return their stock and we are offering a full refund to consumers who have purchased the book.”

“We are all committed to publishing books that offer reliable and comprehensive guidance about their subjects and we regret the inconvenience to our booksellers and readers.”

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