At Quorn Foods, we receive a lot of questions from our customers, asking about our range of great tasting products, such as Quorn Grounds and Quorn Pieces, that are low in fat, high in protein and a great source of fiber. We are asked about everything; from product details to recipe ideas, to how to safely prepare Quorn products. People want to know more about Quorn, and are interested to find out about one of the world’s most popular meat substitutes.
We are sometimes asked, “Is Quorn safe?” and “Can my family enjoy and eat Quorn products safely?” These are extremely logical questions, especially if you’re new to Quorn and haven’t cooked with it before. The information below offers a bit more detail on some of these points:
Is Quorn safe?
The safety of Quorn has always been our highest priority. Frozen Quorn products can be used in many of your favorite meals, straight from your freezer without the need to defrost, because unlike meat, there is no risk of meat associated pathogens such as Salmonella and Campylobacter. So Quorn is safe to freeze, safe to cook, and safe to eat. And over the past 30 years, we’ve been proud to serve more than 3 billion Quorn meals to families like yours around the world.
All Quorn products meet international regulatory standards, including the standards set by the US Food and Drug Administration. Our foods have also been approved for sale by some of the world’s leading health agencies, including Health Canada (HC), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Safety Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). But it’s important to know that Quorn products are a source of protein—and since all proteins can be allergenic or cause intolerance to some—consumers should be mindful of their personal sensitivities when introducing Quorn into their diet. That said, the scientific evidence shows Quorn products are dramatically less allergenic than soy, nuts, dairy, and other high protein foods. And these facts are supported by the millions of people around the world who safely enjoy Quorn’s great taste and nutritional benefits every day.
What is Quorn made of?
All Quorn products contain an innovative ingredient—Mycoprotein™. It’s high in protein, a source of fiber and low in saturated fat. Mycoprotein™ is derived from an abundant natural organism called Fusarium Venenatum. It was discovered growing near vast wheat fields in England. And despite its small size, it was found to have enormous nutritional value. We use a natural fermentation process to enable it to grow—similar to how beer and yogurt are made—blending it with nutrients derived from wheat and maize, air and essential minerals. We then add a small amount of egg white (or potato extract in our vegan products), shape it and then freeze it before adding it to Quorn products, so that our foods have a remarkably similar structure, texture and consistency to meat.
Can I be intolerant to Quorn?
Quorn’s main ingredient, Mycoprotein™, is not classified as an allergen in the U.S. or the fifteen other countries where it is currently sold. But as with all high-protein foods, consumers should be aware of their personal sensitivities. That’s why we updated our packaging last year to explain possible sensitivities some may have when eating Quorn, despite reactions to Quorn products being significantly less common than foods such as soy, nuts and shellfish. The UK Food Standards Agency states that “between 1 in 100,000 to 200,000 people will react” or be intolerant to Quorn products. By comparison, one in 200 people are thought to be intolerant to soy.
About our labeling practices
As a company, we strive to be as transparent as possible with regard to labeling. It’s why, in addition to being fully compliant with FDA regulations, we exceed the Agency’s standards by providing additional language regarding the contents of our products.
Why Is CSPI waging a dishonest campaign against Quorn? It’s a good question …
We state publicly that those who have a particular sensitivity toward protein-based foods may be intolerant to Quorn. But claims by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) that our products are disproportionately allergenic are entirely false. When considering that more than three billion Quorn meals have sold to date, the 2,000 or so adverse incident reports CSPI claims to have compiled are diminutive by comparison.
It’s puzzling that CSPI – a purported food safety organization – would be opposed to a range of safe products that bring better choice and variety to those looking to reduce the amount of meat in their diet. And it’s particularly strange given the multitude of other foods on the market today that have proven high allergenic properties where CSPI’s voice is all but silent. Consider soy; according to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), soy is “one of the more common food allergies, especially among babies and children.” Has CSPI sounded false alarms and called for the removal of soy products from store shelves? No … which is interesting, given CSPI’s collaboration with the American Soybean Association (ASA), allegedly dating back to 1991, and rather flattering coverage of the ingredient in recent years. When considered in combination with CSPI’s past questionable relationship with a former Quorn competitor, Gardenburger, the public is right to wonder whether CSPI’s motives driving its long-standing campaign to disparage our company have been pure in nature.
Interestingly, we aren’t the only ones contesting CSPI’s statements about Quorn. A UK-based research firm named TNS Intersearch – hired by CSPI in 2003 to gather public opinion data about allergic reactions to Quorn and other foods – stated its results had been “represented inaccurately” by CSPI. In a sharply worded letter to CSPI, TNS stated CSPI’s characterizations did “not accurately reflect the findings of the research.” TNS noted the data it compiled on Quorn was based on a sample purely of Quorn eaters, while CSPI incorrectly based them on a sample of the general population. In doing so, CSPI irresponsibly inflated the statistics and created the false impression of a substantially higher allergenic response for Quorn foods. TNS’s letter noted that CSPI’s press release headline was “factually incorrect,” and scolded CSPI’s Michael Jacobson, stating “[Y]ou were, clearly, not comparing like for like data” and that TNS did “not endorse the statements made by you. … ” Click here to read the letter from TNS.
(As an aside, we should point out that all of CSPI’s legal efforts challenging the safety of our products have failed – further evidence the group’s accusations are meritless and lack any scientific credibility whatsoever.)
It’s important the public has the facts.
Our commitment to safety is a responsibility we take seriously. For the millions of valued customers around the world, who enjoy the great taste and nutritional benefits our products offer, safety is – and will always be – our number one priority.