Australia recalls mushroom gummies that sent consumers to hospital with ‘disturbing hallucinations’

Australia has recalled mushroom gummies that sent people to hospital (Food Standards Australia New Zealand)
Australia has recalled mushroom gummies that sent people to hospital (Food Standards Australia New Zealand)

Australia has recalled mushroom gummies after reports of consumers being rushed to hospital with "racing heartbeats" and "disturbing hallucinations".

Food Standards Australia New Zealand on Wednesday cautioned people against eating Uncle Frog's mushroom gummies due to people experiencing "unexpected toxicity".

At least five people have been treated in hospitals in New South Wales after consuming the "lion's mane" and "cordyceps" gummies since April, prompting the state's health department to issue a warning under the Public Health Act.

Queensland and Victoria have issued similar warnings.

The South Australian government said a teenage boy was found "in an unresponsive state" earlier this month after ingesting several gummies. The teenager was given treatment and has recovered, it added.

People reported a list of symptoms such as persistent vomiting, disturbing hallucinations, racing pulse, seizure-like activity and involuntary movement after consuming the gummies.

Laura Jones, a mother of three, said she started experiencing disturbing symptoms barely an hour after taking one gummy.

"I had to be taken to hospital by ambulance. I was tachycardic, my heart rate was at 160," Ms Jones told ABC.

She had bought the gummies online thinking they might help with her anxiety, only to suffer the"weirdest thing I had ever experienced".

"I felt really out of my body and I lost my short-term memory. It was a feeling of impending doom,” she said.

"I felt, in all honesty, like I was going to die. I was thinking, 'What is going to happen to the kids?'”

Uncle Frog, which was deregistered earlier this month, marketed itself as a business offering "specially formulated" gummies to "promote overall wellbeing", according to its archived website.

The company was registered in 2023 and listed 25-year-old Queensland man Rohan Bandil as the sole director and Brisbane as the principal place of business.

The product packaging said the gummies were "infused with earth's finest hemp" at "1,000mg per serve" and the website claimed the products were “100% legal in Australia”.

“Investigations are ongoing as to what these products contain. We are strongly recommending that people do not consume them," said Dr Darren Roberts, medical director at New South Wales Poisons Information Centre.

Mr Bandil issued an apology on Thursday. "We are really sorry that this happened to them, this was not the intention,” he said.

The firm cancelled all orders and “immediately stopped sales and issued a recall notice” within an hour of being contacted by authorities about the presence of “novel” ingredients in the products, Mr Bandil said.

Lion’s mane and cordyceps are classified as "novel foods" that can’t be sold in Australia under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

Mr Bandil previously claimed he was only responsible for sales and distribution and that he had informed the "supplier" that "we don't want to work with you guys anymore, it's absolutely ridiculous".