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fyzygy

Chinese medicinal mushrooms - FSANZ ban?

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Noticed this in today's email from a retailer of medicinal mushrooms (Chinese medicinal varieties). 

 

It’s with a heavy heart that we have had to stop selling our certified organic medicinal mushroom powders effective immediately from our website.
Recently the Food Standards Australia And New Zealand (FSANZ) have classified medicinal mushrooms as ‘novel foods’, which is defined as ‘a type of food that does not have a significant history of consumption.’
We pride ourselves on providing our community with premium functional wholefoods, and we stand by our mushrooms as being safe and effective nutritional powders as used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
While this is frustrating, we have to accept and respect FSANZ’s decision as ultimately they are working to ensure the safety of all new food products, but we expect it will take at least a couple of years until the legislation is changed.

 

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The retailer is continuing to sell a product containing  Reishi, Cordyceps and Maitake mushrooms. So these must be permitted. I don't know what other mushroom products they sold, prior to the changes. 

 

UPDATE: The retailer replied: "The food regulators have said that medicinal mushrooms can be approved by the TGA, but they need to go through a testing and approval process first. We, along with many other companies selling mushrooms here, will be pursuing the process to have our mushrooms approved for sale, but unfortunately it is a lengthy process." They also provided the following link to the review of nutritive substances and novel foods:  https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/industry/novel/Pages/default.aspx

Edited by fyzygy

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It’s a shame medicinal mushrooms that have been used successfully in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years have to go through the rigours of TGA approval. I’d guess pressure from pharmaceutical companies might just have something to do with it. Why, because they work. It’ll be interesting to see how it affects their price and whether some formulations will be prescription only. My father in law was diagnosed with aggressive stage III prostate cancer and managed to kick on for 15yrs post his initial diagnosis. Switching from eastern to western treatments, having his oncologist working with his Chinese herbalist (who was a Chinese oncologist and herbal practitioner but couldn’t practise oncology in Australia) was amazingly successful, but not cheap. When he was taking the Chinese herbs, that he was told were mushroom based it cost him up to $3k/ month. Healthcare for the rich only! So if the TGA can approve and regulate the price so everyone can have access to the benefits of medicinal mushrooms, it can only be a good thing…….., one would hope! 

 

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1 hour ago, Funology said:

So if the TGA can approve and regulate the price

 

I don't think the TGA regulates pricing, just advertising that includes pricing information ... It stands to reason that any TGA-approved product will come with the additional expense of registration/approval, a process more amenable to larger enterprises than smaller operations, resulting in products that cater to the higher end of the healthcare market. The more restricted the competition, the greater the premium attached to TGA-approved products, presumably. 

 

TGA website currently lists 20 products containing various combinations of: Cordyceps sinensis, Ganoderma lucidum, Lentinula edodes, Trametes versicolor, Tremella fuciformis, Wolfiporia cocos, Grifola frondosa, Polyporus umbellatus. BUT it is not clear that these are currently registered products. Cordyceps sinensis and Ganoderma lucidum are both effectively blacklisted by recent FSANZ guidelines, views of the committee recorded here:

 

https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/industry/novel/novelrecs/Documents/Record_of_views_updated_March_2021.pdf

 

At some point the functions of these two regulatory bodies (TGA and FSANZ) must intersect and overlap. 

 

Edited by fyzygy

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It seems like an interesting decision by the FSANZ to describe foods with thousands of years of use as a ''novel" food that "doesn't have a significant history of consumption".

 

Surely they could employ some Chinese speaking scientists to trawl through the relevant literature, rather than blanket banning things and waiting until someone is motivated and cashed up enough to ask for an assessment.

Edited by Slocombe
TGA replaced with FSANZ

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The "significant history of consumption" aside, is there really good evidence of these mushrooms having a real medicinal benefit? Showing anti-tumour and anti-cancer properties in a petri dish only really tells us the compounds in question are cytotoxic; this doesn't necessarily translate to tangible medical benefits if consumed. There are plenty of completely bunk traditional "medicines" that have existed for lengthy periods of time which lack any efficacy or scientific basis whatsoever. Homeopathy and acupuncture spring to mind, as does rhino horns, donkey skins, and tiger penises.

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I think many prescription drugs are borderline ineffective too -- not to mention a leading cause of death and disability, alongside "unsafe patient care." Sometimes placebo works wonders, yet science can't explain it. There's a lot of ideology to unpack in the regulation of (angelic) western pharmaceuticals versus (demonic) traditional medicines. Follow the money, I dare say. 

 

Edited by fyzygy

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An reply which fails to answer the question.  Traditional doesn't mean safe. Cytotoxic is cytotoxic, whichever way you splice it. And there's plenty of money to be followed along the path of TCM, and in fact, such revered brews like ayahuasca.

  • Like 1

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Posted (edited)
On 28/02/2022 at 6:10 PM, tripsis said:

Showing anti-tumour and anti-cancer properties in a petri dish only really tells us the compounds in question are cytotoxic; this doesn't necessarily translate to tangible medical benefits if consumed.

By the same token, showing therapeutic properties in an animal model ... doesn't necessarily translate to tangible medical benefits if consumed by humans.

 

16 hours ago, tripsis said:

Traditional doesn't mean safe.

"Modern" doesn't mean safe either -- as per my previous post. 

 

16 hours ago, tripsis said:

An reply which fails to answer the question. 

What was the question?

 

If neither safety nor efficacy are the absolute benchmarks for regulatory approval, then the answer must lie elsewhere ... in political economy, and ideology. 

Edited by fyzygy

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Why not just market as a herbal remedy the same way raw medicinal herbs are sold?

'

Just don,t market it as a food product such as coffee or cocoa or do so in a way where those are marketed as herbal remedies as well.

 

If they kick up a stink about that then just market as for making dye or cosmetic or invent something.

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