Mushroom Business 67

Crossing borders
More and more, mushrooms and mushroom related products are being traded around the world.
Compost, spawn and casing soils are being shipped long distances to accommodate the
consumer’s desire to buy fresh and buy local, while the demand for various forms of processed
mushrooms that can be shipped in a processed form continues to increase. While this growth
represents something largely positive for the global industry as a whole, the transportation of
these items, and the barriers created by some countries raise both concerns and challenges for
the industry.
These products are living, breathing entities and often face challenges from plant protection and
quarantine border inspectors. ISMS and its member scientists are often able to help explain the
nature of the materials in question to the local authorities, guide them toward appropriate
testing, release and approval methodologies and in general facilitate the smooth flow of such
Making government officials aware of phytosanitary requirements, virus and other pathogen
testing protocols, as well as current research on various health and safety issues relative to
these materials is critical in order to ensure that goods and services can flow within the
mushroom business sector. This kind of support also helps both suppliers and growers. Product
that is well tested and subject to a reasonable level of scientific scrutiny is less likely to result in
a dispute between the parties and should (in theory) result in higher product quality all the way
Similarly, the scientific community is able to work with growers and shippers to insure the
integrity of their product. For example, pesticide regulations vary widely from country to country.
What may be suitable for use in one nation may not be allowed in another, and might result in
shipped product being rejected as “adulterated”. Furthermore, as regional growing continues to
flourish, information on the safety and efficacy of many of these materials can be communicated
through local ISMS member scientists as well as directly to the grower.
ISMS continues to support the development of an international database that will catalogue and
maintain a collection of known mushroom pathogens. Over the last several decades, as growing
technologies have evolved, new pathogens have emerged, and in turn, novel control strategies
have been developed. Maintaining a collection that is available to all mushroom scientists is
critical to sustaining continued growth, and in particular a strategy that focuses on the
development of low risk or bio-rational pest control methods.
ISMS member scientists have a unique focus; the commercial mushroom industry. Their ability
to work together to generate and dissimilate information benefiting the global industry is a
primary mission. Their ability to work across boundaries, not only with each other, but in order to
educate governmental agencies charged with protecting the integrity of food and agriculture is
an essential part of the successful globalization of our industry.
Mark Wach, Past President ISMS