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Mushrooms: Home-cooking's Unknown Peril?
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The Ministry of Health warned the public of household dining dangers on Wednesday, as it found that toxic plants like mushrooms and bad meat were to blame for rising food poisoning incidents in this year's third quarter.

From July to September, 31 people were killed and 183 were poisoned by toxic mushrooms. The ministry reported a rise of 66.7 percent from the previous quarter in those who were poisoned from contaminated meat or vegetables, resulting in 39 deaths.

The public lacks knowledge in identifying mushrooms, raising the possibility of poisoning in rainy areas, said the ministry.

Besides mushrooms, 36 percent of reported food poisoning occurred in canteens, affecting 1,329 people in schools. Contamination of food caused by improper storage and sub-standard cooking practices were blamed for the incidents.

In the third quarter, the ministry recorded a total of 211 food poisoning incidents, down 10.2 percent year-on-year with deaths rising by 6.3 percent from the previous quarter.

The ministry also reported a decrease of poisoning by rat poison, which it said was contributed to tightened control on production and sales of rat poison especially in rural regions.

(Xinhua News Agency November 9, 2006)

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