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Champignon mushroom powder with vitamin D2, the third exclusive on novel food

Champignon mushroom powder (Agaricus bisporus) - treated with ultraviolet (UV) light to induce the conversion of provitamin D2 (ergosterol) into vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) - receives authorization for the third time novel foods with exclusive (1,2,3).

Vitamin D is also valuable for the health of bones and the immune system, as seen. And it is certainly useful to have its own vegetable source, especially for vegan consumers. (1)

Champignons, wastes and virtues

The Champignon mushroom it is one of the best known and marketed worldwide. Consumption is prevalent in Asia (78,2% of global sales), followed by Europe (14,7%) and the American continent (6,2%). However, its waste reaches 20% of the total produced aesthetic non-conformities and / or overproduction. And disposal (eg incineration, burial) has a serious environmental impact, as well as socio-economic. (4)

Virtues of this mushroom are on the other hand significant, thanks to the richness in nutrients (carbohydrates, amino acids, fats, minerals) and bioactive compounds. Powders and extracts can therefore be used, with a view to upcycling, to realize:

- food ingredients with health properties (immuno-nutrition and prevention of diabetes, cancer, obesity),

- creams and shampoos with anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, (5)

- vitamin D2 with appreciable levels of bioavailability. (6)

EFSA scientific opinion

EFSA, in its scientific opinion 24.2.21, considered the safety of the novel foods under exam. The use of UV rays is now well established, even in the production of other new foods already authorized. Like milk, which thanks to this food technology increases the concentration of vitamin D3, yeast for baking and bread.

Special attention was dedicated to the presence of the agaritin toxin, whose concentration in the mushroom powder was reduced to a minimum thanks to the UV treatment. (7) The previous scientific opinion EFSA 28.11.19 has facilitated the examination, obviously, whether the characteristics of the product and the intended uses are partly different. (8)

European Commission, the decision

The European Commission has agreed with the applicant the compromise to exclude the use of the novel foods from food supplements intended for infants and young children (<3 years), even if this precaution had not been considered by EFSA.

The reg. EU 2017/2470 - containing a list of novel foods authorized pursuant to reg. EU 2015/2283 - was thus updated with the related information on conditions of use, labeling requirements and data protection of the applicant.

The specifications refer to a 'mushroom powder made from whole dried Agaricus bisporus mushrooms. The process includes drying, grinding and controlled exposure of the mushroom powder to UV rays'.

Authorization with exclusivity

The Irish company MBio, Monaghan Mushrooms, submitted the request for authorization on 29.7.19, together with the request for data protection on several studies concerning:

- production process,

- composition data,

- specifications,

- allergenicity.

Authorization with exclusivity was granted subject to recognition of the ownership of the studies, although it is already known or absent scientific literature on:

- concentration of agaritin,

- ADME (absorption, digestion, metabolism, excretion) on the bioavailability of vitamin D2,

- toxicological studies and intervention studies.

Provisional conclusions

The list of Novel foods authorized in the old continent continues to grow, at an ever brisk pace. The interests of the entire supply chain, from farm to fork, mainly focus on functional foods or nutraceuticals. And the regulation (EU) 2015/2283, as seen, has undoubtedly favored this path.

The problem it is the instrumental use of this discipline - which aspires to the free circulation of safe and healthy food, as well as to reduce the environmental impact of production - to conquer industrial rights on nature (eg. microalgae, fruit of the miracle, mung bean). Just for analyzing the products and running one scientific review. Public goods, private interests.

Dario Dongo and Andrea Adelmo Della Penna


(1) EU Reg. 2021/2079, authorizing the placing on the market of mushroom powder containing vitamin D2 as a novel food under Regulation (EU) 2015/2283. EUR-Lex, http://data.europa.eu/eli/reg_impl/2021/2079/oj

(2) EU Decision 2017/2355, which authorizes the placing on the market of mushrooms treated with UV rays as a new food product pursuant to reg. CE n. 258/97. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/IT/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32017D2355&qid=1640001212750

(3) EU Reg. 2018/1011, which authorizes an extension of the levels of use of mushrooms treated with UV rays as a new food pursuant to reg. EU 2015/2283. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/reg_impl/2018/1011/oj?locale=it

(4) Cardoso et al. (2021). A Case Study on Surplus Mushrooms Production: Extraction and Recovery of Vitamin D2. Agriculture 11 (7): 579, https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11070579

(5) Usman et al. (2021). Nutritional, Medicinal, and Cosmetic Value of Bioactive Compounds in Button Mushroom (Agaricus bisporus): A Review. Applied Sciences 11: 5943, https://doi.org/10.3390/app11135943  

(6) Blumfield et al. (2020). Examining the health effects and bioactive components in Agaricus bisporus mushrooms: a scoping review. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 84: 108453, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnutbio.2020.108453

(7) EFSA NDA Panel et al. (2021). Safety of Vitamin D2 mushroom powder (Agaricus bisporus) as a Novel food pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283. EFSA Journal 19 (4): 6516, https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2021.6516

(8) EFSA NDA Panel et al. (2019). Safety of vitamin D2 mushroom powder as a novel food pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283. EFSA Journal 18 (1): 5948, https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2020.5948

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

Andrea Adelmo Della Penna
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Graduated in Food Technologies and Biotechnologies, qualified food technologist, he follows the research and development area. With particular regard to European research projects (in Horizon 2020, PRIMA) where the FARE division of WIISE Srl, a benefit company, participates.

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