The Fake Meat Making People Sick

The number of people getting sick from eating the meat substitute, Quorn, seems to be increasing daily.  To date, more than 2,000 people reacted to quorn with symptoms like nausea, cramps and diarrhea.

Some consumers even suffered blood vessels in their eyes bursting due to intense vomiting after eating Quorn.

So what is Quorn?

Quorn products are meat substitutes for food products like chicken nuggets, ground beef, sausages, ham and steak strips.  They are made to look tasty so vegetarians can enjoy their favorite meat-based meals in a meat-free fashion. It was created in England by Rank Hovis McDougall and Imperial Chemical Industries. They launched Quorn as a joint venture.

What are the ingredients in Quorn that is making people sick?

The main ingredient is a fungus called ‘Fusarium venenatum’.  The word ‘Venenatum’ is Latin for poisonous, venomous, filled with poison.

This fungus was discovered in a sample of North Yorkshire soil in the Sixties.  It is a member of the fungus family distantly related to mushrooms. First it is harvested, and then it is fermented in a similar way to beer.  After being fermented it creates thin layers of meat like texture and appearance which is perfect for a meat substitute is why it is used in Quorn.

See how Quorn is made:  Quorn Manufacture Video

Quorn Foods claims its product is safe and points out that food like nuts cause much more severe allergic reactions. The company argues Quorn products have “always been made from a natural, GMO-free protein ingredient.”

Is the Quorn really safe to eat?

British manufacturers of Quorn first labelled the main ingredient as from the “mushroom origin”, but in 2002 the Food Standards Agency made them change the labels because this was inaccurate. Since then the label says: “It is a mycoprotein, which is a nutritious member of the fungi family.”

This fungus has never been used in human food before, but this wasn’t enough of a red flag for the FDA. Apparently, when the company sent in their results from studies, one study’s results were that almost five percent of people tested got sick after eating Quorn.

The Time has come for the FDA to Protect Consumers from getting sick from Quorn

Statement of CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson August 18, 2014:  ” We’ve collected more than 2,000 adverse reaction reports from consumers who have eaten Quorn. The FDA should have pulled this dangerous product off shelves a decade ago.” As early as August 12, 2002 CSPI Calls for Recall of “Quorn” Meat Substitute

There are many Medical studies with the results that Quorn’s fungal ingredient is an allergen, but it is still allowed for sale by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency.

At the very least, consumers should not be mislead by labeling.  The average consumer doesn’t know what a ‘mycoprotein’  is,  and may not eat that product if they did!

This bean stew looks and tastes good! Do you really NEED fake meat?

Much of the original motivations to create this food was:

  • To find a more humane food.
  • Fears of a world protein shortage in the 1960s.

Vegetables have lots of protein. These are the caloric ratios of common vegetables (from http://nutritiondata.self.com)

Imitation foods can also interfere with the bodies highly sensitive feedback mechanism for proper digestion and satiation. That is one of the reasons most artificial sugars and fats aimed at weight loss are not effective.

Every single one of my delicious Meatless Monday Recipes is made with real food.  You can also learn how to plan and cook real vegetarian means at Online Healthy Diets.

main image from Michael, via Flickr. Quorn fillet pictured.

155 comments

Florencia B
Florencia B23 days ago

''They are made to look tasty so vegetarians can enjoy their favourite meat-based meals in a meat-free fashion''.
1: They are really tasty, not just look tasty.
2:Nothing like ''meat based meals'' try plain unseasoned meat. What gives processed meats the nice flavour is actually salt and condiments.
3: Meat-free fashion? Being eco-conscious, compassionate, health aware is a fashion? Maybe for meat-less monday-ers.
There's nothing wrong with vegan Quorn products, this is just a sensationalist pro meat industry petition.

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Past Member
Past Member 26 days ago

P.S. It's NOT "fake" meat. It is an all-natural, non-gmo, non-antibiotic-laden source of protein for those of us who don't believe in eating critters.

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Past Member
Past Member 26 days ago

I call BS!! I've been eating Quorn products for years and have never gotten sick and I have other food allergies. It sounds more like someone from the meat industry trying to throw doubt on the competition. People get sick and die from meat consumption every day and yet, it's still constantly pushed on people to eat. I'm allergic to watermelon, should it be pulled from the shelves?! Peanut butter? Shellfish? C'mon, be real...label the fungi as a possible allergen and move on...

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Kise M.
Kise M.2 years ago

If you have allergies - read the label.
It contains eggs, wheat, and fungal protein. If you're allergic to eggs, wheat, mold/antibiotics . . . don't eat it. Same as someone with a nut allergy should check foods for nuts.
So, should allergen info be stated? Yes.
Does it need to be banned? No.

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Magdalena J.
Past Member 2 years ago

Thank you!

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Alex Perea
Alex Perea2 years ago

Liliya G., here's a few reasons for you.

They like the taste/texture of meat and cannot eat it because they are allergic/sensitive to it (red meat allergy is pretty common in fact).

They like the taste/texture of meat but are trying to lose weight or improve heart health by cutting down/eliminating some or all meats.

They like the taste/texture of meat but cannot eat it for religious reasons.

They like the taste/texture of meat but choose not to eat it for personal ethical reasons.

They like to cook recipes that typically involve meat and want a non-meat substitute for any of the above reasons.

They genuinely like the taste/texture of their preferred meat substitutes.

Is it really that hard to understand that some people like things that you don't and have their own perfectly valid reasons for it?

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Liliya Gianelli
Liliya Gianelli2 years ago

"... vegetarians can enjoy their favorite meat-based meals in a meat-free fashion.."
I am sorry, but I can't grasp this.
I mean, if I want to eat meat, I am not a vegetarian. If I am a vegetarian, I don't eat and don't want to eat meat. Who needs to eat some strange substance which looks like meat for the sake of eating something that looks like meat and which is not?? Gosh!

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Jessica K.
Jessica K2 years ago

A good reminder that all things vegan are not necessarily healthier. Nature made enough good plant food for one's nutritional needs. No additives necessary. Thanks.

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Elena P.
Elena P2 years ago

Thank you :)

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Alex Perea
Alex Perea2 years ago

Lyn R., I eat 'fake meat' because I'm trying to cut down on real meat for health reasons, but I enjoy cooking recipes that include meat, such as lasagne, shepherds pie, cottage pie, spaghetti and meat sauce, sausages, etc. I also make meals like this with veggies that aren't in 'fake meat' form... but sometimes I enjoy using products that are more meat-like in their consistency.

Not that it's any of your business why other people eat or don't eat certain products, but since you just screamed at everyone who eats 'fake meat' that we're stupid (charming) and demanded to know why anyone would want to, well, there's at least one answer for you.

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