School Nutrition FAQs About Mushrooms

Why the Blend in Schools?

Blending mushrooms with meat in school meals extends the portion size of the entrée leaving students more satiated, it adds moisture to products keeping burgers juicy especially during long holding times, adds a credited vegetable serving that is more likely to be consumed by students reducing plate waste and is a nutrient dense ingredient to make students meals healthier and more sustainable.

How do the mushrooms credit in the burger?

Mushrooms credit as an “other” vegetable, generally counting for 1/8 cup served vegetable credit in the burger. When served with vegetable toppings or marinara sauce the Blend can often count as a ¼ cup vegetable serving.

Do I tell students mushrooms are in the burger?

Mushrooms can be treated as any other ingredient included in your menu items. List them in ingredient lists but there is no need to specifically list mushrooms in the item name.

What about mushroom allergens?

Mushroom allergens are extremely rare. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA) was passed to help Americans avoid the health risks associated with food allergies. They identified 8 major food allergens under this labeling rule, which account for 90% of food allergic reactions: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soy beans.3 Mushrooms are not considered a major food allergen. If there are other questions about the menu item, please contact your foodservice manager.

Do you have an allergen statement we can use?

Absolutely, please customize the information below:

As champions of student well-being, [Insert your district name] consistently works with food manufacturing partners to create healthier menu options that will help advance student nutrition. Our goal is to achieve healthier menus that are not only filled with more nutrients, but also designed to appeal to student taste preferences. In addition, student engagement plays a critical role in the final decision process for our product selection and menus.

Recently, [Insert your district name] collaborated with the Mushroom Council on an innovative solution that would bring a healthier and delicious burger option to our menus. The new Beef-Mushroom Burger allows students to enjoy a healthier version of an iconic recipe without sacrificing taste and texture. By combining a larger portion of meat with a smaller percentage of meaty mushrooms, this better-for-you burger has enhanced flavor and improved nutrition and still delivers sufficient protein. This burger helps reduce calorie and fat intake – in fact, research suggests that substituting mushrooms for lean ground beef in an entrée just once every week would save you almost 20,000 calories in one year.1 Because mushrooms are a nutrition powerhouse, they also add essential vitamins and minerals to the burger like B vitamins, potassium (as much as a medium banana), vitamin D, and antioxidants. Plus, thanks to mushrooms’ umami (savory) taste, you can maintain the delicious flavor of burgers while reducing sodium by 25%.2 Not only does the Mushroom Burger help improve nutrition, it also enhances flavor. A recent study of consumers and students showed that combining meat with mushrooms actually enhances the flavor of iconic recipes like burgers.2 Analysis in schools also revealed student acceptance of this burger has been favorable as well.

In addition to our responsibility to provide healthier food choices, [Insert your district name] is also committed to ensuring students with special dietary needs receive accommodations in accordance with USDA regulations. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA) was passed to help Americans avoid the health risks associated with food allergies. They identified 8 major food allergens under this labeling rule, which account for 90% of food allergic reactions: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soy beans.3 Mushrooms are not considered a major food allergen. If there are other questions about the menu item, please contact your foodservice manager.
 

References:
1. Cheskin L.J., Davis, L.M., Lipsky L.M., Mitola, A.H., et al. Lack of Energy Compensation Over 4 Days When White Button Mushrooms Are Substituted for Beef. Appetite (2007).
2. Miller, A.M., Mills, K., Wong, T., Drescher, G., et al. Flavor-Enhancing Properties of Mushrooms in Meat-Based Dishes in Which Sodium Has Been Reduced and Meat Has Been Partially Substituted with Mushrooms. Journal of Food Science (2014).
3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Food Allergies: What You Need to Know. Updated 9/2/2015. Accessed 9/8/2015.