New Hampshire has passed a new law which will require people who make money from wild mushrooms to become certified under a licensing program designed to decrease foodborne illnesses.
Governor Chris Sununu signed House Bill 345 into law this past week, and it goes into effect on July 1, 2022. The law allows for fines of up to $1,000 for mushroom sellers per incident. It covers individuals who forage and sell wild mushrooms as well as distributors, retailers, and restaurants that sell them.
The bill also requires the state's Department of Health and Human Services to develop a list of approved mushrooms before the mushrooms are distributed. The department will also produce the educational curriculum for license applications.
Wild mushrooms are often poisonous and look similar to edible mushrooms. Mushroom poisoning can range from an upset stomach to death. Common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, weakness, lethargy, and jaundice. Illness and death can happen quickly in some instances, especially in children. Other patients develop liver failure and require transplants.
The licensing process will cost $75 per seller and will include fulfilling educational requirements and passing examinations approved by state officials.
Other states also are concerned about the sale of wild mushrooms—Michigan requires mushroom hunters who intend to sell their bounties to have all mushrooms inspected by a certified mushroom expert to help reduce food poisoning incidents. Certification is available through the Midwest American Mycological Information and must be renewed every five years.
Similar to New Hampshire's law, Michigan's law applies to retailers, online sellers, and restaurants that sell mushrooms foraged in the wild. The certified experts can be on staff at the businesses or third-party individuals.
For information about mushroom identification experts in Michigan or how to become certified, visit the Midwest American Mycological Information website. Illegal sales of wild-foraged mushrooms can be reported to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at 800-292-3939.