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 Historical reference to the use of UV light for production of vitamin D is discussed, and studies evaluating the nutritional value and safety of vitamin D mushrooms are reviewed.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.
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