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Deadly mushrooms served as part of meal that kills 2, officials say

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 3:37 AM EST, Fri January 6, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Health officials say a meal containing the mushroom is responsible for the deaths
  • It is believed the deadly mushrooms were mistaken for edible ones, officials say
  • A chef made the meal for three friends at a bistro, a newspaper reports

(CNN) -- A meal containing the world's most deadly mushroom is responsible for killing two people and sickening another in Canberra, Australian health officials said Friday.

The meal, which contained death cap mushrooms, was part of a private meal served at a restaurant on New Year's Day, the Australian Health Directorate said.

"The Health Directorate has been advised that the consumption of this food was for a private meal and no food containing the mushrooms was provided to the general public or anyone outside of this small group," the directorate said in a statement.

The restaurant, where the mushrooms were prepared, remains closed.

It is believed the death cap mushrooms were mistaken for edible mushrooms. The health directorate did not identify those killed and sickened.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Friday that a chef made the meal for three friends at a Chinese bistro in Canberra.

The chef and a 52-year-old Chinese woman died at a Sydney hospital, while a third person was in critical condition, the newspaper reported.

Health authorities were warning residents to be careful not to confuse the deadly mushrooms with edible ones, saying three others were sickened when they accidentally confused the two.

Death cap mushrooms grow near oak trees, and are routinely found in wet, warm climates. In southeast Australia, they can be found during the autumn months, the health directorate said.

The mushrooms are silky smooth, and its color varies from white to greenish-brown.

CNN's Chelsea J. Carter contributed to this report.

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