Workshop certifies morel hunters, sellers as mushroom identification experts

Common morel mushrooms. Photo by Missouri Department of Conservation.

A morel mushroom certification workshop will be held next week at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, Lawrence, to help mushroom hunters and sellers assure that wild harvested mushrooms are actually morels and safe to consume.

Current Kansas Department of Agriculture food safety regulations require mushrooms picked in the wild and offered for sale must be individually inspected for safety by an approved mushroom identification expert. Those successfully completing this workshop will be recognized as mushroom identification experts for the purposes of meeting this regulation. These regulations and this certification do not apply to cultivated mushrooms, such as shiitakes, but only to mushrooms harvested in the wild. Cultivated mushrooms do not require an identification course.

The course will be taught by mushroom identification expert Sherry Kay, of the Kaw Valley Mycological Society; there is no charge for the course.

The workshop will cover the following:

  • Background on the regulation and certification requirements.
  • Pre-training identification test.
  • Presentation on recognizing morels and false morels and other species of wild mushrooms.
  • Post-training identification test for certification (and re-testing as needed).

After successful completion of the workshop and test, participants who sign a liability waiver can receive wall-size and wallet-size training certificates recognizing them as an approved mushroom identification expert. The certification is for three years.

Preregistration for the workshop is required. Participants can register at http://agriculture.ks.gov/mushroom-identification-workshop.

The class is limited to the first 40 people that sign up, with preference given to people from Kansas harvesting mushrooms in Kansas. Registrants will be notified of registration status.

The class will be 6-9 p.m. March 13, at Dreher 4-H Building, Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2110 Harper, Lawrence. For more information, contact Londa Nwadike, KSU/MU Extension Food Safety Specialist, at 913-307-7391 or email [email protected].

The workshop is organized by Kansas State University Research and Extension, Kansas State University Biology Department, the Kaw Valley Mycological Society, The University of Kansas Biological Survey, and the Kansas Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Lodging Program.

Information thanks to Frontier Extension District.


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