Fungi Found Tasty but Ill-labeled

Mar 13, 2002

The latest alternative to poultry and ground beef made from a fungus discovered a few decades ago in British soil, arrived in frozen form in U.S. health-food stores mid-January. Quorn is the leading meat alternative in Europe, where it is turned into chicken-like nuggets, tenders and cutlets and a ground-meat stand-in. The product is expected to reach grocery stores later this year.

The meat substitute has the distinction of being lauded as both a tasty nutritional
choice and a deceptively labeled product by one consumer group. This month Quorn
tenders earned a laudatory “Best Bites” citation in Nutrition Action,
the newsletter published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI),
a Washington-based nutrition watchdog group. A week earlier, the group’s assessment
of Quorn was different. In a letter to the FDA’s food safety center, CSPI director
Michael Jacobson urged the FDA “to take enforcement action regarding the deceptive
labeling of those products, to reconsider the ‘generally recognized as safe’
(GRAS) designation and not approve ‘mycoprotein’ as a food additive until certain
testing is conducted.”

Moderator Comment: Is Quorn more likely to take share
from meat or other meat substitutes such as soy?

If it looks like chicken; smells like chicken and tastes
something like chicken, it must be Quorn. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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