I am concerned about the import of shiitake logs from China.
You see, these fruiting logs are NOT properly sterilized and god knows how this will, in the years to come, affect the U.S. environment and soil. This makes a mockery of prohibition of passengers wanting to carry meat, fruit and things coming into the U.S. by plane.
The price of these logs at $1.30 is half the price of logs made in the U.S. And the U.S. has them classified as spawn which sells for $10 per bag if made in the U.S. Is it not dumping?
I think, the U.S. government should protect the U.S. industries the same way the Chinese are protecting theirs, or the Japanese , theirs. Just to declare this country democratic and abandon our hard earned effort is too much a price to pay. I still believe USDA should reclassify and we in the industry should spell out that fruiting logs are not spawn, because fruiting logs cost 1-2 dollars a bag and spawn 10 dollars a bag and their contents are not the same, namely grain etc. against saw dust, and their uses are not the same.
I asked Dan Royse, Professor Emeritus at Pennsylvania State University, if I had a point here. He said:
“You certainly do have a point. In fact, it is my understanding that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) ban the importation of Chinese shiitake logs into Canada because of the substantial risk of introduction of an invasive species.
“Because shiitake logs contain wood chips, there is the potential of insects and plant pathogens to ‘hitch a ride’ on the logs. As we know, spawn run for shiitake logs in China is conducted undercover of loose fitting plastic greenhouses. There may be holes and breaks in plastic bags used for incubation, so this would allow ample opportunities for an invasive species to infest the logs.
“I am reminded of the Brown marmorated stink bug, the Asian long-horned beetle, and the spotted lantern fly that we are battling here in PA, and elsewhere, as invasive species introduced from Asia. Seems like the Canadians are not willing to take that risk. Why should we?”
I asked the same of Peter Gray, Grower Manager at Phillips Mushroom Farms. He told me that the American Mushroom Institute looked into the situation and determined that they could do nothing because Chinese exporters were following the current rules. He said there was no evidence of dumping and the Chinese are getting organic certification for these products. He added, “One angle we were hopeful of was the Grown in USA claim, which as I am sure you are aware, is above board according to the regulations as they are written now. Finally Lou, you are right about the bags but, we have tried them and they are not nearly as good as yours!! You get what you pay for. So, hopefully these will start to drop off.”