Quorn is the most controversial mycoprotein you’ve probably never heard of. The product is manufactured by Marlow Foods, a British company that started making the meat-alternative in 1985.
Quorn claims that its product is mushroom, or fungi, derived. Quorn’s website states that the product’s mycoprotein, “comes from Fusarium venenatum, which was originally discovered growing in a field in Buckinghamshire, England.”
The principal ingredient in all Quorn products is mycoprotein (“myco” is Greek for “fungi”). The mycoprotein comes from Fusarium venenatum, which was originally discovered growing in a field in Buckinghamshire, England. The product touts its low-fat and high-protein benefits.
In the US, the Center for Science in the Public Interest – a Washington, D.C.-based nutrition think tank and pressure group has led the charge opposing the product. CSPI says Quorn is a vat-grown fungus that promotes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other allergenic responses.
CSPI logged its first complaint against Quorn in 2002. CSPI maintains the Quorn adverse event reporting website www.quorncomplaints.com. Recently, CSPI has been back in the news with another letter to the FDA, urging it to revoke Quorn’s Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status in the US.
Quorn’s products do contain some fiber – usually about 2-3 grams per serving, in its items meat-alternative like Naked Chik’n Cutlet and Classic Quorn Burgers. But it’s not the fiber – rather the protein – that has been shown to be allergenic in some individuals.
Will Quorn get its GRAS status revoked? Despite the historically high profile nature of CSPI’s previous media pushes (see: CSPI sues Denny’s on behalf of customer who didn’t know the food was laden with salt), it probably won’t affect that many Americans. In most US markets, Quorn can only be had for a pretty penny at Whole Foods.
However, Quorn trivia buffs in the UK might recall the British McDonald’s vegetarian Quorn Burger that was available for a limited time at the outlet from 2003-2005.