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Issue Number: Council I 010


Wild Harvested Mushroom Curriculum

Issue you would like the Conference to consider

This issue describes one of the five important elements of a model wild harvested mushroom program, which will permit a variety of wild harvested mushrooms to be sold to and by retail and foodservice establishments.

The FDA Food Code specifies that mushrooms species picked in the wild shall be obtained from sources where each mushroom is individually inspected and found to be safe by an approved mushroom identification expert, but does not establish what constitutes the basis for approval of an identification expert. Due to the lack of established criteria and recognized training courses the best way to protect public health is to provide education and training which includes a curriculum on how to safely and properly identify wild harvested mushrooms.

Public Health Significance

The trade of wild harvested mushrooms is an established and rapidly growing industry that impacts consumers through wholesale, retail and restaurant services. The inability of regulatory authorities to effectively regulate and approve individuals as competent to identify mushrooms fosters the back door trading of wild harvested mushrooms and poses a threat to the consumer population through the potential ingestion of mushrooms that have been misidentified.

Recommended Solution: The Conference recommends...

that a letter be sent to FDA requesting that Annex 3 Section 3-201.16 of the 2009 Food Code (as modified by the Supplement issued in 2011) be amended to include the information noted below regarding Curriculum for the Approved Mushroom Identifier (new language in underline format).

Curriculum for the Approved Mushroom Identifier this is to be developed and administered by the committee established by the regulatory authority. The curriculum should include general information about the following:

  • Mushroom anatomy as it relates to identification;
  • Mushroom toxins and case histories of poisonings;
  • Specific information regarding habitat, including information on areas that are considered inappropriate for harvest (treated areas, brownfields, etc.);
  • Proper collection, including information on proper harvesting and species conservation techniques; and
  • Information on areas where harvesting is not permitted, or permitted only with permission.

The curriculum should also include specific information about the approved species including:

  • Latin binomial and approved common name;
  • Specific characteristics required for proper identification, including differentiating characteristics of similar toxic and non-toxic species;
  • Characteristics for determining that (if) the mushroom is in good condition;
  • Information about proper storage;
  • Information about proper preparation; and
  • Information about regulations that the harvester must comply with.

The Conference also recommends that the above language be incorporated into a single Wild Harvested Mushroom Guidance Document and posted on the CFP website so that state and local jurisdictions can use this information to develop and implement their own wild harvested mushroom program.

Submitter Information

Name Lisa Roy, Co-Chair
Organization Wild Harvested Mushroom Committee
Address Maine Health Inspection Program
286 Water Street
Augusta, ME 04330
Telephone 207-287-5691
Fax 207-287-3165
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