DC, September 24, 2003 (ENS): A meat substitute
sold under the brand name "Quorn" is more
likely to cause adverse reactions than shellfish, milk,
peanuts and other common food allergens, according to
the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
In a letter published in the "American Journal
of Medicine," CSPI's Executive Director Michael
Jacobson says eating Quorn can cause vomiting, diarrhea,
hives, swelling, or even anaphylactic shock.
Quorn is the brand name for mycoprotein, which is made
from vat grown mold. It has been marketed in the United
States for less than two years, but has been available
for more than a decade in the United Kingdom.
Authorities in the United Kingdom forced Marlow Foods
to change the labeling, which had falsely claimed that
mycoprotein was "mushroom protein," even though
it is made from a non mushroom processed mold. The U.S.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been investigating
reports of adverse reactions to Quorn, but CSPI has
repeatedly criticized the agency for the pace of its
investigation and for allowing its sale in the first
CSPI commissioned a telephone survey of British consumers,
and found that five percent of 346 people who had eaten
Quorn reported adverse reactions. The public interest
group says that was a higher percentage of people than
reported allergies to shellfish, milk, peanuts, and
In addition, the study reports on 597 reports of adverse
reactions attributed to Quorn. Of those people, 67 percent
suffered vomiting; 33 percent diarrhea; 6 percent hives
or broken blood vessels in the gastrointestinal tract
or eyes; and one percent anaphylactic reactions.
"It is quite astonishing that the Food and Drug
Administration considers Quorn Foods as 'Generally Recognized
As Safe,' even though many people have suffered severe
vomiting or diarrhea, hives, and even anaphylactic reactions,"
Jacobson said. "Many people said that Quorn made
them sicker than they ever were before, that cramps
and vomiting were debilitating, and that they had to
go to their doctor or the emergency room.
"At a time of widespread public concern about
food allergies, it is shocking that the FDA would permit
a new food that it knows will sicken countless consumers,"
Jacobson said. "The FDA should order it off the