Australia: Several hospitalised after consuming “Uncle Frog mushroom gummies”, sparking public health warning and national recall

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“I’m not one of these Byron Bay hippies that would ever take a hallucinogenic gummy,” she said.



When Perth woman Laura Jones heard about a new type of mushroom gummy that might help her anxiety, she jumped at what she thought was a natural solution.

“I’ve got young kids. I suffer with anxiety so I thought it would help,” Ms Jones said.

Her husband had seen an advertisement for Uncle Frog mushroom gummies on Facebook and purchased some for the health-conscious couple.

“I’m not one of these Byron Bay hippies that would ever take a hallucinogenic gummy,” she said.

Laura’s husband purchased the gummies online.

“It was a bit strange because it was $50 for eight gummies, so it was quite expensive” she said.

Within an hour of taking just one gummy, the healthy mother-of-three, started experiencing disturbing symptoms.

“I had to be taken to hospital by ambulance. I was tachycardic, my heart rate was at 160.

“It was 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….

“I felt, in all honestly, like I was going to die. I was thinking, ‘What is going to happen to the kids?’.”

In the weeks since Ms Jones said her anxiety had gotten worse.

“My heart rate was elevated for two days afterwards. They (doctors at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital) said whatever was in there caused it. It really exacerbated my anxiety and I’m still struggling now.

“I’m quite traumatised by the whole thing. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.”

Laura Jones with her husband and three children.

Laura Jones said she thought she was going to die after consuming the mushroom gummies. (Supplied)

The Uncle Frog gummies Ms Jones took are now the subject of an urgent nationwide recall after hospitalisations around the country.

NSW Health said since April this year at least five people were treated in its hospitals, prompting the state’s Chief Health Officer to issue a warning under the Public Health Act.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer John Gerrard also issued a statement strongly advising people to avoid consuming the gummies after three people were hospitalised in that state.

Several others were also treated across the country, including hospital presentations in Victoria.

Patients reported a concerning list of symptoms including persistent vomiting, seizure-like activity and involuntary movement as well as disturbing hallucinations, anxiety, loss of consciousness and a racing pulse.

Medical Director of the NSW Poisons Information Centre, Dr Darren Roberts, urged the community not to use the products.

“Investigations are ongoing as to what these products contain. We are strongly recommending that people do not consume these products,” he said.

Scores of packets in piles to be sent to customers

Social media posts from the company stated they were struggling to keep up with demand for the mushroom gummy product.

‘We have shut operations’

Yesterday Uncle Frog customers received a text stating, “customers shouldn’t eat or open this product and should dispose of it safely”.

Soon after a second text message was sent saying, “Hey guys don’t panic… we just have been stopped govrnment (sic) bodies from selling this in Australia, like every good thing”.

Company searches show the sole company director, secretary and shareholder of Uncle Frog Pty Ltd is 25-year-old Queensland man Rohan Bandil.

A text message sent to customers of Uncle Frog

A text message was sent to customers directing them to dispose of the product.

Documents show Uncle Frog Pty Ltd was deregistered earlier this month, only six months after it was incorporated.

The ABC contacted Mr Bandil about the issue, who said he was only responsible for sales and distribution.

“We are absolutely worried and we have shut the operations. We’ve told the supplier. We said we don’t want to work with you guys anymore it’s absolutely ridiculous.

“It’s a full recall now because we don’t want people to get sick, it’s very disheartening to hear.”

Mr Bandil maintained the product was safe, but that customers were taking too much.

“Have you ever used prune juice?” he asked

“It’s exactly like that, if you have the whole bottle, you will get sick.

“We clearly mention behind the package don’t consume more than one gummy in 12 hours, but they consume the whole bag,” he said.

‘Packed full of THC’

One customer, James* said he reached out to the company’s Facebook page to check the product was legal and was reassured that there was no THC or CBD (cannabidiol) in the products.

Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is a psychoactive chemical that is found in cannabis plants.

“Then I asked if it would show up on a drug test… my work does random drug tests,” he said.

“[They] told me that based on many studies no it shouldn’t.

Advertising image for Mushroom Gummies showing packaging

A warning has been issued under the Public Health Act after several people were hospitalised after eating Uncle Frog mushroom gummies. 

“I can confirm after drug testing myself, it does indeed show up on drug tests. It comes up as THC. So, my guess is that these things are packed full of THC (weed) and this is some underground drug thing,” he said.

Another Queensland customer, Matt*, ordered the gummies for anxiety after seeing ads on Facebook and Instagram.

“I had one and waited for two hours and nothing happened … I took a second gummy and within about 30 minutes I was really stoned.”

Matt said he had used cannabis about 20 years ago and immediately recognised the feeling.

“At this point I realised that it was not only full of THC, but that I had also had too much,” he said.

He emailed the company asking what type of THC was in the products and received a response stating:

“It’s very similar to HHC but we have synthesised (sic) it and tweaked its protein to comply with the guidelines of TGA.”

Another customer described receiving a phone call from a man who referred to himself only as “Uncle Frog” after an order issue.

“He just said, ‘hello it’s Uncle Frog calling’. It was really weird,” recalled the customer, who didn’t want to be named.

Company claims independent testing

When asked if he sent the email or made phone calls, Mr Bandil said, “My job was just to sell and distribute the product, I’m hearing this for the first time”.

He also said the company commissioned independent testing to ensure there was no THC present.

He provided a certificate of analysis to the ABC from an American-based lab which stated the product had no active THC or CBD. The ABC has not independently verified the certificate.

“We bring it legally to Australia. We supply everything. That was one of our concerns, so we did the extra testing ourselves,” he said.

A Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) recall notice states the products contain unapproved novel ingredients (lions mane, cordyceps mushrooms) and may cause adverse symptoms if consumed.

An ad for the mushroom gummies with two packets of the product next to a woman.

The mushroom gummies have now been recalled and a health warning has been issued.

Six weeks ago, the Uncle Frog Facebook page posted the company was struggling to keep up with demand for the gummies. Photos appear to show hundreds of packages being shipped around the country.

“Bro, this time, 10x people more ordered and we were prepared for 3x max. So had to hire an agency to pack and send the orders” the company responded on Facebook.

Another customer who spoke to the ABC said she felt like she had a bad ketamine trip after consuming the gummies.

“I got bad headaches, extreme paranoia like someone was out to kill me,” she said

“There was a crippling weight on my chest so I couldn’t escape, nausea and impaired motor functions.

“Basically, for me it was just a really bad trip.

“I assumed, that considering they were produced within Australia, they would’ve gone past all the standard testing that all food products would’ve had to go through,” she said.

NSW Health said it was working with other jurisdictions to further investigate the issue and urged anyone with the products to dispose of them immediately.

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