Marlborough Town Council
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Marlborough Town Council
Tel: 
01672 512487 
  E-mail us  5 High Street, Marlborough, SN8 1AA   Weekdays 10am-4pm

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Serious health risk from wild garlic (ramsons)

{Play}Do not forage near the river

It has been brought to our attention that people have been foraging wild garlic at Coopers Meadow.

The floods on 5 January caused Coopers Meadow to be flooded with water contaminated with a significant amount of human waste when the sewers overflowed.  This will be the same for anywhere near the river, including St George's Preshute.

This means that anything growing there will be contaminated, WITH A SERIOUS RISK OF E-COLI.

Food safety advice

The Food Standards Agency advises ‘not to eat any food that has been touched or covered by floodwater or sewage.  Do not eat any produce grown on an allotment or garden that has been flooded’.

The Royal Horticulture Society states ‘After flooding, edible crops near to harvest are best not eaten: no assurances can be given that root crops will be safe to eat, so they should be discarded. Plants eaten raw should be discarded too, and it is prudent to avoid growing salads and other uncooked crops for two years in case disease spores remain in the soil. However, the following year after flooding, it should be safe to grow crops that are to be cooked’

Foraging and the law

While foraging can be a very rewarding activity, there are rules around it.

The Theft Act states that it is illegal to collect any wild plant or fungi for commercial purposes without the landowners’ permission:

Theft Act 1978: (3) "A person who picks mushrooms growing wild on any land, or who picks flowers, fruit or foliage from a plant growing wild on any land, does not (although not in possession of the land) steal what he picks, unless he does it for reward or for sale or other commercial purpose."

Please be considerate

As well as the serious risks to health, the result of this activity by a few people means that there is now a large, unsightly, bare patch where the plants may not recover.  

Please remember that with rights come responsibilities.  We all have a right to enjoy our open spaces.  With that comes a responsibility to abide by any signs or bylaws, as well as to leave the meadow as you find it for the enjoyment of the whole community and to protect our precious environment and biodiversity.

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