US/UK: Quorn brushes off US health body allergy claims

By Sam Webb | 9 December 2011

Quorn revoked health claims made by the CSPI

Quorn revoked health claims made by the CSPI

UK meat-free food manufacturer Quorn Foods has defended its products from accusations that it is unsafe made by a US consumer watchdog.

On Wednesday (7 December) the non-profit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) released a statement claiming the mycoprotein used to make the Quorn line of meat substitutes causes gastrointestinal distress and anaphylactic reactions. It said it has collected about 500 such reports from Americans and 1,200 from European and Australian consumers.

The CSPI urged the US Food and Drug Administration to revoke its "Generally Recognized as Safe," or GRAS, designation for the products or force Quorn products to require a prominent warning label.

But a spokesperson from Quorn said its products have been "extensively" tested and approved as safe by the relevant regulator in each market.

He said: "Since 1985, more than 3bn Quorn meals have been consumed in ten different countries. For a very small number of consumers, Quorn products can cause intolerance.

"It is worth noting that the UK's Food Standards Agency estimates that between one in 100,000 and one in 200,000 people will have an adverse reaction to Quorn products. That tallies with our experiences of reported incidents around the world.

"By contrast the incidence levels for other protein foods such as soy, nuts, shellfish, dairy and eggs are between one in 50 and one in 200."

In January, Quorn chaired a health panel of experts on the safety of mycoprotein, which concluded it is a safe ingredient but that its high fibre content may affect people with an imbalance in their gut bacteria, an unusual dietary intake of fibre or suffer from irritable bowel syndrome.

Sectors: Advertising & labelling, Food safety, Frozen, Natural & organic

Companies: Quorn

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