Monday, October 6, 2008
Fungii = Drugs??
Autumn is here, and with it brings a favourite French pass-time: mushroom hunting. The whole family bundles up, and heads for the woods on Sundays in search of delectable, edible fungi. Yet how do they distinguish the edible from the poisonous varieties? Are the French taught the distinguishing features at an early age, or are mushroom related poisonings an issue in France? Turns out, they head to their pharmacist for species identification. Each different type of mushroom is placed in a separate bag; the pharmacist then consults their reference book and gives the green light if the variety is edible. Can you imagine?! This is just another reason why I cannot be a pharmacist in France. Unless I was asleep that day in class, our studies steered nowhere near the realm of mushroom identification! And I am not sure that I would want the responsibility of differentiating a deadly from a non-deadly mushroom for others. I can only imagine that that would boost a Canadian pharmacist's insurance fees!