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Swiss cantons bid farewell to mushroom inspector

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Red~Star (File)
14:53 CEST+02:00
A long-standing tradition has come to an end in two Swiss cantons whose citizens have previously been able to turn to a fungus expert to avoiding eating poisonous mushrooms. 

Mushroom inspector Paul Arnold, a guardian angel for mushroom pickers in central Switzerland’s Nidwalden and Obwalden cantons, has retired at the age of 70 and the authorities are not willing to pay for a replacement with public money, newspaper NZZ reports.

For two decades, his job was to help mushroom lovers distinguish the good from the bad. The mushroom inspector would also help doctors in hospitals to identify unfriendly fungi in the leftover meals of poisoned patients.

Although mushroom inspectors enjoy a long tradition in both cantons, authorities said they consider mushroom picking a private matter for which individual citizens must take personal responsibilty without the luxury of expert assistance.

The Free Democratic Party and the Christian Democrats did not oppose the decision, but the Green Party expressed regrets, arguing that treating patients for poisoning could prove more expensive than employing a mushroom inspector.

Mushroom season in Switzerland runs from July to October, and mushroom collecting is regulated by the local authorities. Each picker is limited to 800 grams per day in Obwalden and one kilo in Nidwalden.

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