Monterey Mushrooms gets EU approval for vitamin D-rich mushroom powder

16 Jun 2022

Monterey Mushrooms’ vitamin D-rich mushroom powder, produced using ultraviolet (UV) to boost the nutrient content, can be sold in the EU, following novel food approval from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Monterey Mushrooms, a California-based mushroom producer, has successfully received novel food approval from EFSA for its vitamin D mushroom powder, in line with Regulation (EU) 2015/2283.

Monterey Mushrooms gets EU approval for vitamin D-rich mushroom powder
Agaricus bisporus mushrooms

Using UV light to create vitamin D-rich mushrooms

The product, branded Just Mushrooms, is a whole-food, vegan-friendly powder containing high levels of vitamin D. Created from US-grown and processed dehydrated mushrooms, the powder is available in a range of vitamin D levels, ranging from 125–375 µg/g.

Through a collaboration with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Monterey has developed a method of specially devised proprietary ‘sunlight’, which uses ultraviolet rays on Agaricus bisporus mushrooms, to replicate the vitamin D-rich sunlight that mushrooms require to grow, in an indoor environment. The UV light induces the conversion of provitamin D2 (ergosterol) to vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol).

This eliminates the need for additives, supplements, or chemicals often used during traditional mushroom production processes, all the while creating mushrooms which are high in vitamin D.

EFSA approved specifications of use

Following the EFSA approval, the mushroom powder can be used as an ingredient in a variety of foods and beverages in amounts that result in either 1.125 or 2.25 µg of vitamin D2 per 100 g or 100 ml of the food as consumed, EFSA confirmed in its scientific opinion.

Additionally, EFSA approved the ingredient for foods for special medical purposes (FSMPs) and meal replacement for weight control. According to the EFSA analysis, the maximum intended use level in FSMPs is 15 µg vitamin D2 per day and 5 µg vitamin D2 per meal, for products of this use intended for adult consumption.

Conversely, for infants (aged 7 – 11 months) and for children (aged over 1 year), a maximum of 10 µg vitamin D2 per day and of 15 µg vitamin D2 per day was authorised as per the approval.

Despite confirming the safe use of the ingredient in line with the above stated conditions of use, the Panel raised caution around the calculated combined exposure of vitamin D for the general population, in light of the recent growth in and popularity of vitamin D-fortified foods available on the market.

Consumers are looking to increase their vitamin D intake

Vitamin D is essential for maintaining good human health, yet studies show that more than one in four (42%) Americans do not have an adequate amount of it in their diets. Deficiency of vitamin D can have serious implications on health, including an increased risk of developing certain forms of cancer and diabetes, in addition to bone and muscular health problems such as arthritis and muscular sclerosis.

Over recent years, consumers across the globe have become more health conscious and are increasingly seeking ways to improve the nutritional value of their diets.

Given the clear health implications of vitamin D deficiency, the demand for supplements and products which allow consumers to add higher levels of concentrated vitamin D into their diet is on the rise. Between 2020 – 2021, vitamin D usage amongst US consumers grew from 42% – 52%, potentially as a result of studies highlighting the links between vitamin D intake and the effects of Covid-19.

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