Mushroom sellers must undergo eye tests


As every devoted mushroom-picker in the Czech Republic will tell you, the mushroom-picking season has begun. Even though experts say that due to increasing pollution it's not too healthy to eat them, mushroom-picking still remains a kind of Czech national pastime. But those who want to sell mushrooms are currently facing a problem: they have to have their eyes tested. Alena Skodova has more:

Opticians and hygienists in the Czech Republic have been caught unawares by an amendment to the law on food, which makes conditions for the street sales of mushrooms stricter: the amendment, which came into effect on June 16th, says that private mushroom sellers must undergo medical checkups, including eye tests. Only with confirmation from a doctor is the seller allowed to obtain a certificate to sell his mushrooms. Although this might sound pretty straightforward, neither opticians nor hygienists are familiar with the criteria for a mushroom picker's eyesight. What extent of short or long sightedness can still be tolerated? Are colourblind mushroom-pickers banned from selling their produce?

Puzzled opticians and hygienists plan to turn to the Czech Health Ministry to specify what quality of sight gives future mushroom sellers the right to sell their wares on the street. An unnamed hygienist from South Bohemia told Lidove Noviny newspaper last week that potential mushroom-sellers had only been asking for basic information, and so far no-one has had the medical check.

Mycologists say eye tests are nonsense, what's important is the seller's knowledge of mushrooms, for which he must obtain an official certificate from the local mycological association. The fact that he sells edible mushrooms must be sufficient proof that he knows his mushrooms, the newspaper quoted the renowned Czech mycologist Zdenek Kluzak, who himself wears glasses, as saying.

So the latest amendment has simply confused many people, and it's likely that those of us who do not have the chance to go to the forest, yet adore mushroom goulash with dumplings, will in the future have to look harder around the markets to spot someone selling mushrooms.