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Old Apr 10, 2016, 10:15 am   #1
big amish
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Name: jeff
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Morel cert requirement being dropped?

MICHIGAN — Legislation introduced last month would remove regulations that require morel mushroom foragers to obtain a certification to be able to pick and sell morels to local businesses.

“This was in response to a rule that the Department of Agriculture put in place when they adopted the federal food code a number of years ago,” state Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, said of House Bill 5532. “In the code that they adopted was some language about needing to be certified to sell morel mushrooms and other wild mushrooms to restaurants.”

Cole described the change in regulation as “completely unnecessary.”

“There hasn’t been a problem,” he said. “So this was a solution in search of a problem. This is how government gets bigger and bigger and bigger, with more and more regulation that nobody asked for; it just happened.”

Beyond being an area pastime, Cole said morel mushroom hunting is a tremendous source of fun for residents and revenue for the region.

“Many of us in Northern Michigan that grew up here, at one time or another we’ve picked morels. I sold them to restaurants for a long time. As a kid I made a lot of money doing that. All of a sudden now I’ve got to go take a class that costs $175 to be able to continue doing that,” he said. “The class that was developed was done with taxpayer dollars. A group that’s no longer using the same name created this class with a $79,000 taxpayer grant, and then they want to charge you $175 to take the class. It just floors people when things like this happen.”

He said the commonality and unique identification of morel mushrooms make them ideal for exemption from the existing regulations.

“This is just continuing the relationships that people have if they’re picking mushrooms and selling them to shops,” Cole said. “It just allows them to continue to do that. It could be a restaurant owner’s best friend, someone they know really well, and they know exactly what the mushrooms are, and they couldn’t purchase them without having a certification there. The chefs know what they’re buying. They know how they’re going to prepare them. They know how they’re going to preserve them, and they know what they’re serving.”

HB 5532 has been referred to the House Agriculture Committee.

“I had people running up to co-sponsor (the bill). I had it on the floor for one day, and I think I had 14-15 co-sponsors,” Cole said, adding he is confident the bill will become law. “This is one of those common-sense things that gets legislators excited. I try to make sure that the things I work on are things that impact our daily lives here in Northern Michigan. These little things matter. Hopefully we continue to get the moisture and we get some warm nights for the mushrooms to pop.”

From Ogemaw Herald
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