Story Summary

Wild Mushrooms Kill Senior Care Residents

Two Placer County women died after eating wild mushrooms in November. A third person died about a week later, and a fourth victim died at the end of the month.

The mushrooms were prepared by a caretaker who says she didn’t know the mushrooms were poisonous. The caretaker was one of the six people effected.

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The Mallorca mushroom is deadly but can be mistaken for edible look-a-like the Chanterelle.


The caregiver who unknowingly included poisonous mushrooms in a soup that killed four seniors and sickened several others has had her license revoked.

The Department of Social Services investigated the Gold Age Villa, on Horseshoe Bar Road in Loomis, and slapped caregiver Lilia Tirdea with a lifetime exclusion.

The ban keeps Tirdea from being employed at any other care facility licensed by the state.


The Mallorca mushroom is deadly but can be mistaken for edible look-a-like the Chanterelle.


Placer County officials said Tuesday that a fourth senior that became sick after eating poisonous mushroom soup has died.

The County Coroner’s Office will be looking into the exact cause of death, but believes the soup is to blame.

The woman was identified by the Placer County Sheriff’s Department as 92-year-old Dorothy Mary Hart.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Gold Age Villa along Horseshoe Bar Road Nov. 9 after a group of people had been reported sick. A caregiver at the senior community reportedly picked the mushrooms and put them in the soup, not knowing they were poisonous.

The caregiver is also among those sickened by the soup.

Local News

Another Person Dies from Eating Poisonous Mushroom Soup

File photo


A third person has died after eating soup made with a poisonous mushroom in Placer County.

Earlier this month, two people died and four were being treated after a caregiver at Gold Age Villa made them a meal using mushrooms they had harvested, which turned out to be poisonous.

Monday, the care home reported one of those originally sickened by the soup, had now died.

The Department of Social Services did not identify this latest victim, and did not say how the others were doing.

Officials at the department say their investigation is ongoing.

The Mallorca mushroom is deadly but can be mistaken for edible look-a-like the Chanterelle.

Wild mushrooms are everywhere and most are perfectly fine to eat but there are a few exceptions, however there’s no easy way to tell what’s poisonous and what’s safe.

Mushroom expert, Marilyn Shaw, explained determining safety can’t just be based on appearance since many mushrooms will look very similar to each other but some are poisonous while others are perfectly fine.

Shaw added another interesting fact is that northern California has two of the most deadly species; Amanita phalloides, the death cap and Amanita ocreata, the destroying angel.  They grow primarily with oak trees and other hardwoods, including fruit trees.  These mushrooms and their host trees cannot exist without each other, and actually exchange nutrients.  So while they are extremely dangerous for humans and pets, they are very beneficial, even necessary partners of the trees.

Even though most wild mushrooms are okay to eat it’s recommended they aren’t given to kids, the elderly, or sick people, since their resistance may be lower.

The best ways to stay safe; eat mushrooms from a grocery store, join a mycological society, or follow the advice of “when in doubt, throw it out.”

If you think you’ve eaten a poisonous mushroom call us poison control at 1-800-222-1222 right away.


Soup made with wild mushrooms is to blame for the deaths of two Loomis seniors, Placer County Sheriff’s say.

A caregiver at the Gold Age Villa is said to have harvested the mushrooms.

Deputies were called to the care home along Horseshoe Bar Road around 10 a.m. Friday. Apparently, the caregiver used the mushrooms in a soup, not knowing that they were poisonous.

Barbara Lopes, 86, and Teresa Olesniewicz, 73, are the two residents who are said to have died. Four others, including the caregiver, were also sickened.

Authorities are still investigating the incident.