Monterey Mushrooms touts vitamin D benefits

01/07/2009 12:00:00 AM
Brian Frederick


Monterey Mushrooms uses low-level ultraviolet light postharvest to increase the vitamin D content in the company's Sun Bella mushrooms by 1,250%, says vice president of biotech and product development John Kidder.

(Jan. 7, 12:03 p.m.) Monterey Mushrooms Inc., Watsonville, Calif., is challenging families to boost their vitamin D intake in 2009 by increasing their mushroom consumption through a New Year’s resolution promotion.

“We’re challenging people to get more vitamin D and get their levels up,” said vice president of biotech and product development John Kidder.

Monterey uses low-level ultraviolet light postharvest to increase the vitamin D content in their Sun Bella mushrooms by 1,250%, Kidder said.

“There are myriad articles on the chronic deficiency in the American public,” Kidder said. “Our diet and lifestyle are deficient, and without it we can’t store calcium in our bodies. As we get an aging population, there’s more concern with osteoporosis and bone development in children, and people aren’t getting the natural vitamin D (from the sun).”

A single 3-ounce serving of the mushrooms will provide a full day’s worth of vitamin D, with no fat or cholesterol, Kidder said.

In development for over a year, Sun Bellas were developed through a collaborative research program with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which found that mushrooms react to sunlight in much the same way as humans. Conventional cultivation does not expose mushrooms to adequate levels of ultraviolet light, stunting vitamin D production, Kidder said.

“In the wild, they’d contain significant amounts because they’re exposed to sunlight,” he said. “Because we grow them indoors, they don’t produce the vitamin D at the high levels they would outdoors. By exposing them to ultraviolet light after harvest, we can dramatically raise that number.”



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