Fresh Canadian mushrooms are safe to eat! First, the growing rooms are sterilized with steam between crops. Then, the growth medium, also known as substrate, is pasteurized before the mushroom mycelia are planted in it. Mushroom harvesters are well trained in personal hygiene. They wash their hand frequently, before and after breaks. They wear hair nets, and are not permitted to wear any jewellery. This ensures that no foreign objects fall among the mushrooms. These are the first steps in Mushrooms Canadaâ€™s HACCP-based On-Farm Food Safety Program.
Have you heard of HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points)? HACCP was developed for NASA to prevent the astronauts from getting a food-borne illness in space. Now, the principles of HACCP are being applied to mushroom growing and packing in Canada.
The Mushrooms Canada On-Farm Food Safety (OFFS) program was developed over a seven-year period by Mushrooms Canada and the Guelph Food Technology Centre (GFTC). The GFTC is recognized as a world-class food-safety training centre. The Mushrooms Canada program complies with the Food Safety Enhancement Program of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and international standards of HACCP.
Mushrooms Canada encourages its members to enrol in the On-Farm Food Safety program by sponsoring a certified Food-Safety Facilitator and sharing the costs of 3rd Party certification. The OFFS Facilitator works hand-in-hand with growers to prepare their individual food-safety programs and conducts Personal Hygiene training seminars for farm employees. When a farm has passed a trial audit, the Facilitator will arrange for the GFTC to conduct a formal 3rd Party audit of the mushroom farm or packing facility. A successful audit is rewarded with a Certificate of Food Safety. The buyers of FRESH Canadian mushrooms can be assured that Canadian mushroom farmers comply with international standards of food safety.