Safety assessment of the post-harvest treatment of button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) using ultraviolet light

Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 Jun;56:278-89. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2013.02.009. Epub 2013 Feb 26.


Wild mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D. The presence of vitamin D in mushrooms is attributed to sunlight exposure, which catalyzes the conversion of fungal ergosterol to vitamin D2 via a series of photochemical/thermal reactions. Mushroom growers now incorporate UV light treatments during processing to produce mushrooms with levels of vitamin D that compare to those in wild mushrooms. Presented herein is a comprehensive review of information relevant to the safety of introducing vitamin D mushrooms, produced using UV light technologies, to the food supply. Historical reference to the use of UV light for production of vitamin D is discussed, and studies evaluating the nutritional value and safety of vitamin D mushrooms are reviewed. Traditional safety evaluation practices for food additives are not applicable to whole foods; therefore, the application of substantial equivalence and history-of-safe-use is presented. It was demonstrated that vitamin D in mushrooms, produced using UV light technologies, are equivalent to vitamin D in mushrooms exposed to sunlight, and that UV light has a long-history of safe use for production of vitamin D in food. Vitamin D mushrooms produced using UV light technologies were therefore considered safe and suitable for introduction to the marketplace.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agaricales / chemistry
  • Agaricales / radiation effects*
  • Animals
  • Food Technology / methods
  • Humans
  • Nutritive Value / radiation effects*
  • Sunlight
  • Ultraviolet Rays*
  • Vitamin D / analysis*
  • Vitamins / analysis*


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D