Morel mushrooms are in season as spring arrives in Montana, enticing gourmets with their subtle texture and earthy flavor. But because of recent occurrences, health authorities have issued a warning about consuming them.

A foodborne outbreak linked to a Bozeman eatery in the spring of 2023 shocked the neighborhood. There have been 51 documented incidences of gastrointestinal (GI) disease linked to the establishment's serving of raw and undercooked morels. Sadly, this outbreak led to two deaths and three hospital admissions, underscoring the possible risks that these seemingly harmless fungi may contain.

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After a prompt inquiry, health experts identified the cause as the real morel species Morchella sextelata. Still, the precise toxin causing the outbreak remained elusive despite extensive testing. This highlights a larger problem facing scientists: our incomplete knowledge of morel toxicity and the critical need for more study in this field.

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As symptoms of morel consumption outbreaks are frequently unreported or misdiagnosed, it's possible that these outbreaks are more frequent than previously believed. This emphasizes how important it is for the general people and medical professionals to be more aware.

To protect against illnesses linked to morel mushrooms, the DHHS has released a set of preventive measures in response to these worries. These include making sure the mushrooms are authentic morels, choosing dry, hard specimens, and keeping them at the right temperature. Most importantly, careful cooking is stressed as an essential first step in eliminating possible contaminants.

Care must be taken when handling and preparing morel mushrooms since Montanans look forward to springtime and its richness. Follow these recommendations, and nature lovers can enjoy the bounty of the natural world without sacrificing their health or wellbeing.

For more information, visit DHHS's website on the Mushrooms.

South Dakota's Deepest Lakes

Our neighbors in Minnesota may boast of being the home of 10,000 lakes. Here in South Dakota, we have hundreds of our own. This random website says we have 131 lakes in South Dakota. We'll just take their word for it.

There's nothing like getting out on the lake. On a board, on a jet ski, or just swimming in the waves.

Just don't think about what's in the water. While you're at it, don't think about how deep the lake is. How far down into the murky depths of South Dakota?

But that is an interesting question. One to think about while we are on solid land. Just how deep are the lakes in South Dakota?

To keep things in perspective, Lake Superior has an average depth of 500 feet, and at its deepest is just over 1300 feet deep.

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