Misperceptions

Considerable misinformation exists online about our products. Regrettably, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has been responsible for spreading most of these misperceptions.   And questions have been raised over the years regarding the potential motives behind CSPI’s campaign against our company.   

For example, in 2002, it came to light that CSPI had reportedly been sharing information about its efforts against Quorn with soy-based Gardenburger -- a former competitor that opposed our entry into the U.S. market.   Many of Quorn’s innovative products are soy-free, and news of our arrival wasn’t (and isn’t, to this day) welcome by many in the industry.  CSPI had been communicating behind the scenes with one of the most prominent soy-based burger companies at the time, as CSPI embarked on a misinformation initiative about our products. 

Indeed, CSPI’s ties to the soy industry appear to date all the way back to 1991, when the group allegedly acknowledged a collaboration with the American Soybean Association (ASA) in its Nutrition Action Newsletter. Recently, in 2014, CSPI’s Founder, Michael Jacobson, was a featured speaker at an ASA-sponsored event. CSPI also published a favorable report on soy later that same year.

Notwithstanding, it is important the public understand the facts about our products.  In this spirit, we have provided the information below to confront, head-on, many of these irresponsible claims:

CLAIM:  Quorn products are not labeled properly.
This is inaccurate.  All Quorn products are accurately labeled in accordance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements. 

  • As a company, we strive to be as transparent as possible regarding our labeling.
     
  • It’s why we’re not only fully compliant with FDA regulations, we exceed the Agency’s standards by providing additional language regarding the contents of our products.
     

CLAIM:  Quorn is highly allergenic.
Not true.  CSPI has been relentless in deceiving the public on this point – and has misrepresented the findings of its own research firm to promote this baseless assertion.

  • UK-based TNS Intersearch – a firm 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 [its] research.”   
     
  • TNS noted the data it compiled on Quorn was based on a sample purely of Quorn eaters.  But CSPI incorrectly publicized them based 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 products.
     
  • TNS’s letter noted that CSPI’s press release headline was “factually incorrect,” and scolded CSPI’s Founder, 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.
     
  • Separately, CSPI routinely claims it has gathered 2,000 or so incidents of unverified adverse reaction to our products. Even if these claims are true, CSPI conceals from readers that this number is diminutive in comparison to the more than three billion Quorn meals have been sold around the world since 1985.
     
  • 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.  Yet, CSPI seems to promote the virtues of soy, as the group aggressively campaigns to deny vegetarians and others access to our products.
     
  • We are clear in stating those who may be uniquely sensitive to high-protein foods may be intolerant to Quorn.  But Quorn foods are proven to be far less allergenic than shellfish, nuts, soy and dairy.  To suggest, as CSPI does, that Quorn products are highly allergenic is both irresponsible and deceptive.


CLAIM: Quorn hasn’t received comprehensive regulatory review.
Incorrect.   The FDA reviewed extensive research about our products and concluded, correctly, that we successfully met the Agency’s Generally Recognized As Safe (“GRAS”) standard.  

  • Unlike many substances that are determined to be “GRAS” by private parties, with only a summary provided to the FDA, all of the scientific data and information that establish the safety of Mycoprotein were submitted to and reviewed by FDA before Mycoprotein was determined to be GRAS
     
  • It is completely inaccurate and contrary to the facts to claim that the FDA was not privy to, and did not evaluate, safety data on Mycoprotein. 
     
  • Not only has Quorn’s safety been validated by the FDA, it has been approved for sale by some of the world’s leading health agencies, including Health Canada (HC), European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Safety Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).
     

CLAIM: Quorn caused a fatality in California
Wrong. CSPI has promoted a 2015 lawsuit filed in California that contains false and unfounded allegations about our products in connection with the tragic passing of Miles Bengco.  In the complaint, attorneys representing Miles’ family omit and actively downplay several key facts addressing the true cause of this unfortunate event.

Specifically:

  • The Medical Examiner concluded, after a lengthy investigation, that Miles died from an asthma attack. 
     
  • The child suffered from “poorly-controlled” asthma, a condition so severe that it caused him to be hospitalized on at least ten separate occasions throughout his young life—all prior to the attack that wound up claiming his life.
     
  • Miles had not been receiving any of his asthma maintenance medications to keep his condition reasonably under control one month prior to his death, and was placed on an “organic diet” in lieu of medicine.
     
  • Attorneys representing the family are now attempting to ameliorate this tragedy by way of a misguided lawsuit against Quorn.
     

CLAIM: Quorn “may well have” caused a death in Sweden.
False. CSPI has advanced this irresponsible and dishonest claim about our company despite direct evidence to the contrary.

  • Quorn had no connection to the Swedish incident CSPI references. 
     
  • The individual died of a peanut allergy.  Quorn was contacted simply to verify that our products were peanut-free (which we did). We were not, in any way, associated with this event.
     
  • CSPI continues to deceive the public on this issue, as part of its ongoing campaign to disparage our brand.

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