Change Ohio's Wild Mushroom Laws
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Currently under Ohio law, Ohio Food Code 3717-1-031 Section F states, "Wild Mushroom species picked in the wild are prohibited for sale or service in food service operation or retail food establishment. This prohibition does not apply to : 1) 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 or 2) 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.
This does not allow many to operate their Ohio mushroom businesses legally. For example, if you ever go to a farmers market and find a mushroom stand, if they are selling morels or other exotic mushrooms it is most likely illegally done. Mushrooms are not only healthy sources of vitamins and minerals, they are also delicious and have many medicinal values that you can't get anywhere else. By allowing our laws to change you can help 1) Local and Large restaurants in Ohio to have a larger selection in cooking dishes (which could help business) 2) You could help small growers and hobbyists start their own businesses both big and small. 3) Farmers and land owners could legally sell wild mushrooms that grow on their property.4) Foragers have a chance to expand or start businesses. 5) Wild mushrooms that are already being sold illegally would be examined by an expert to limit any unsafe mushrooms from going into commercial circulation.
What can we do? Well, this is a two part process. One step is to have cultivated mushrooms be considered under Ohio's cottage food law. Currently it is not, and if you plan to sell mushrooms to grocery stores and restaurants you must obtain permission from the Ohio Department of Agriculture. If this was considered under cottage food law this would not be necessary (which would free up a lot of time for ODA and make it a lot easier for people to start their own business) The second step is to legalize foraging wild mushrooms for commercial purposes. Federal law states that if mushrooms are picked in the wild each mushroom must be identified by an expert before it could be sold. Michigan has just set up a great program in order to become a certified expert. If we were to mirror this system, with the help of the Ohio Mushroom Society, we could make sure that these mushrooms are properly identified and minimize any potential risk. This has been implemented in many states and has helped many people, including the over all economy. Help Ohio hop on the band wagon!!
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