Wild Mushroom Foraging & Safety

Chanterelles MushroomWhat does the food code say about wild foraged mushrooms?
The North Carolina Food Code Manual Section 3-201.16 states: "(A) Except as specified in ¶ (B) of this section, mushroom 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. ᴾ (B) This section does not apply to:

  • Cultivated wild mushroom species that are grown, harvested, and processed in an operation that is regulated by the food regulatory agency that has jurisdiction over the operation
  • Wild mushroom species if they are in packaged form and are the product of a food processing plant that is regulated by the food regulatory agency that has jurisdiction over the plant"

Angel MushroomWhy use an approved mushroom expert?
North Carolina's Food Protection Branch formed a committee to research the best practice for wild mushroom regulation in 2016. The committee established requirements that would allow wild mushroom foragers to sell to food establishments using the criteria set forth in the CFP "Guidance Document for a Model Wild-harvested Mushroom Program."

Because paragraph 3-210.16(A) of the Code does not specify requirements for an "approved mushroom identification expert, the CFP guidance document was used to determine the criteria that must be met for a wild mushroom forager to be an "approved mushroom identification expert". The criteria include record keeping and trace-ability, and written buyer specifications.

Morel MushroomHow do experts prove their credentials to the health department?
It is the responsibility of the wild mushroom forager and the food establishment to provide and maintain documented proof that the forager is an "approved mushroom identification expert" in accordance with CFP guidance document criteria.

Documented proof provided by the forager includes a written statement as to their qualifications and successful completion of training specifically related to wild mushrooms. The documentation must include curriculum information about:

  • Best handling practices
  • Harvesting
  • Identification
  • Illness
  • Regulatory requirements

The forager may provide a signed and dated letter or certificate issued by the accrediting person or organization certifying that the forager has successfully completed wild mushroom identification training. The letter and/or certificate must specify the species of wild mushroom(s) the forager is qualified to identify.

Mushroom PatchHow will wild mushrooms be traced for food service establishments?
The "North Carolina Wild Mushroom Verification Form" must be completed and signed by the wild mushroom forager and the person in charge (PIC) of the permitted food establishment. The following are also required:

  • Must be maintained in the food establishment for at least 90 days from the date of sale
  • Includes identification of the mushroom species by the scientific and common name, the name, address and telephone number of the wild mushroom forager and the food establishment, and a statement describing the qualifications and training of the wild mushroom forager
  • Specifies the species of wild mushroom(s) the forager is qualified to identify

The "North Carolina Wild Mushroom Verification/Sale Tag" must be attached to the container in which the wild harvested mushrooms are received and the container is empty. The tag must contain the following information:

  • Retained for 30 days and shall include the name and address of the wild mushroom forager
  • States the forage location, date foraged, date delivered to the food establishment
  • Records the date the container is empty
  • Records the species of mushrooms and the quantity by weight (of each species)

What wild foraged mushroom species will be allowed in North Carolina restaurants?
Species allowed in North Carolina restaurants include:

  • Beefsteak (Fistulina hepatica)
  • Black Trumpet (Craterellus fallax)
  • Cauliflower (Sparassis crispa, S.herbstii, S.spathulata)
  • Chanterelles (Cantharellus cibarius, C.lateritius, C. cinnabarinus, C. appalachiensis)
  • Chicken of the Wood (Laetiporus sulphureus, L.cincinnatus, L.perscinus)
  • Comb Tooth (Hericium ramosum)
  • Hedgehog (Hydnum repandum)
  • Honey (Armillaria ostoyae, A.mellea)
  • Indigo Milk Cap (Lactarius indigo)
  • Leatherback (Lactarius corrugis, L.volemus)
  • Lions Mane (Hericium erinaceus)
  • Lobster (Hypomyces lactifluorum)
  • Maitake (Grifola frondosa)
  • Morel (Morchella esculenta, M. deliciosae, M. elata)
  • Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus)
  • Puffballs (Lycoperdon, Calvatia)

Are there other resources available?
Yes, view the following resources for more information: