Quorn is the brand name of meat substitutes that are made from a vat-grown fungus. Some people have dangerous allergic reactions to the fungus and suffer nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and occasionally hives or difficulty breathing. Some people react the first time they eat Quorn, while some react only after building up a sensitivity.
Medical studies have proven that Quorn's fungal ingredient is an allergen, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the United Kingdom's Food Standards Agency still allow its sale. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit food-safety organization based in Washington, D.C., has heard from more than 2,000 consumers in Europe and the United States who have suffered reactions to Quorn.
Despite what some of the manufacturer's (Marlow Foods) marketing materials indicate, the fungus used in Quorn is only distantly related to mushrooms, truffles, or morels. While all are members of the fungus kingdom, Quorn is made from a less appetizing fungus (or mold) called Fusarium venenatum.
CSPI urges consumers to avoid Quorn and urges natural-foods retailers like Whole Foods not to sell this product that is dangerous to sensitive individuals.
Consumer Group Warns Australian Food Safety Officials About Quorn Fungus Foods
September 23, 2010
Victims Urge "Whole Foods" Supermarkets Not To Sell Quorn
December 9, 2003
Quorn "Fungus Food" Sickens 5% of Eaters
September 23, 2003
550 Sickened from Quorn Fungus-based Foods
April 23, 2003
Letter to FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan
April 23, 2003
Letter to Sir John Krebs, UK Food Standards Agency
March 21, 2003
CSPI Calls for Recall of "Quorn" Meat Substitute
August 12, 2002
Read the 8/12/02 press release
Read the 8/12/02 petition to FDA
Read the 5/1/02 press release
Read CSPI's second complaint to the FDA
Read the release for British press
Read the 3/21/02 complaint filed with the EU
Read the 3/21/02 complaint filed with the UKs Food Standards Agency
Read CSPI's press release
Read CSPI's first complaint to the FDA