People in California are being warned about the dangers of eating wild mushrooms following the deaths of two elderly people at a care home.
Barbara Lopes, 86, and Teresa Olesniewicz, 73, died and four others needed hospital treatment after being served mushroom soup by a staff member.
Police determined the deaths were an accident after they were called to the Gold Age Villa in Loomis.
The staff member “just didn’t know” the mushrooms were poisonous, Sheriff's Lieutenant Mark Reed told the Sacramento Bee newspaper.
The type of mushroom served is not known but two varieties commonly found in California - the Amanita ocreata and Amanita phalloides , dubbed the "destroying angel" and "death cap," respectively - are considered particularly dangerous.
As far back as October 2009, the California Department of Public Health issued a statement warning that eating wild mushrooms can cause serious illness or death.
According to state data, there were more than 1,700 reported cases of mushroom ingestion in California in 2009 and 2010.
They included 10 cases of serious poisoning and two deaths, including an 82-year-old man who died after cooking wild mushrooms with his steak and a woman who died after eating mushrooms she had picked in a local park.