Cross-contamination – gluten
We are asked quite frequently if mushrooms grown from our spawn contain gluten… The short answer is that no, fruited mushrooms do NOT contain gluten. The risk comes from the potential cross contamination with the grain spawn used to inoculate sawdust blocks (which contain wheat bran). It is possible that a harvested mushroom from a sawdust block could come into contact with a piece of grain or wheat bran.. We weren’t able to find any scientific research to support this specific question but did find lots of other articles to support what we understand.
Rye and not rice?
We are also often asked why we don’t switch to using rice for our grain spawn instead of rye? There are a number of reasons, here are a few:
- Rye is locally produced in Alberta – therefore, we don’t need to import a product from another county to make our grain spawn. This is extremely important to us to use as many local resources as possible to create our spawn both from an economic and environmental consideration
- The cost of rice would increase our input costs more than 10x. This is not practical on a product that is already relatively expensive to produce
- Rice does not work as well as rye for the species that we grow
Why use wheat bran?
The reasons we use wheat bran in our sawdust blocks are basically the same as the reasons we use rye:
- Wheat bran is locally produced in Alberta
- Wheat bran is not an expensive product to purchase
- Wheat bran works very well to produce beautiful mushrooms in our grow kits
What to do if you are gluten intolerant?
- We think the risk of cross contamination is quite low for mushrooms fruited off our sawdust blocks… If you are very concerned about this, you can easily harvest mushrooms carefully and ensure the stems are properly cleaned. If even touching a grain containing gluten causes you to have an allergic reaction, then our grow kits are not going to work for you.
- Many of the medicinal mushroom products sold in stores are often grain spawn (mixture of mycelium and a grain) that’s been dried and ground you. You need to ensure you do not consume these products! Some medicinal products are the fruiting body of the mushroom only, but we aren’t sure that they can guarantee the mushroom has never come into contact with a grain…