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There have been severe arguments over the safety of mycoprotein:

  • Quorn is considered a healthy food in UK and Europe
  • Some parties in the US have cried havoc
  • It's quite discussed in Canada

Quorn claims it's safe and healthy:

The main ingredient in Quorn is mycoprotein, a high quality meat-free protein, which is naturally low in fat, saturated fat and calories. For example, Quorn mince is 75% lower in fat and saturated fat that even lean beef mince. It also has all the essential amino acids you’d find in other proteins like beef or chicken, so is an ideal alternative for healthy eaters and vegetarians.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a US organization, is asking for Quorn to be almost banned from consumption:

CSPI [...] insists that it be [...] studied more thoroughly before Quorn’s mycoprotein can be considered “Generally Recognized As Safe.”

Wikipedia on the controversy:

CSPI also claimed that Quorn could cause allergic reactions and should be removed from stores. Others argued that milk, peanuts, soy, eggs and many other foods are common allergens, sometimes fatally so, and removing Quorn from stores would set an unreasonable precedent. Calling the product "fungus food", CSPI claimed in 2003 that it "sickens 4.5% of eaters". The manufacturer disputes the figure, claiming that only 0.0007% (1 in 146,000) suffer adverse reactions.

This is a clearly falsifiable hypothesis: what percentage of mycoprotein eaters has an adverse reaction?

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Since large numbers of people have been eating it for a long time (at least in Europe) we should have good epidemiological data. But it would be unreasonable to hold Quorn to a higher standard that milk (a majority of the human race is probably lactose intolerant as adults) or wheat (gluten intolerance is thought to affect as many as 1% of americans). Lets hope for some context in answers. Good question. –  matt_black Feb 19 '12 at 21:17
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unfortunately, your quotes from CSPI are misleading by ommission. WRT allergens, the linked document speaks of a lack of testing, and it is 10 years old. At that time at least, and if the claim of lack of testing were true, then no there would have been no way to cite a percentage. –  horatio Feb 22 '12 at 22:40
    
It never bothered me, but i grew up eating raw mushrooms. –  Cees Timmerman Nov 14 '12 at 11:26
    
Is it safe for babies? And todlers? –  user13417 Apr 16 '13 at 22:55
    
@CeesTimmerman The mycoprotein does not come from mushrooms. It comes from non mushroom fungi. –  Stefan Apr 17 '13 at 17:08
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1 Answer

It is considered safe in Australia according to foodprocessing.com.au

Quoting the first 2 paragraphs:

Mycoprotein is used in a limited range of meat-free foods marketed under the brand name Quorn. Although Quorn products have been available in Australia only since 2010, they have been consumed in the United Kingdom since 1986 and in the United States since 2001. Because of this history of use, the mycoprotein in Quorn products is not a novel food.

Some consumers have reported adverse reactions after eating mycoprotein-based products. Research in Europe suggests that while most consumers can eat these products safely, about 1 in 100,000 to 200,000 people may react to them. Because it's made from a fungus, it's possible that some people who react to other fungi or moulds may also react to mycoprotein.

On the CSPI page you link to, they claim to have evidence of over 1700 adverse reactions to Quorn

CSPI has now received about 500 reports of adverse reactions from Americans, as well as about 1,200 more from the United Kingdom, other European countries, Scandinavia, and Australia.

CSPI also has a page on research, some of which is peer reviewed and published in notable journals, that show it can be unsafe in some cases.

Van Durme P, Ceuppens JL, Cadot P. (J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 Aug;112(2): 452-454)

Belgian researchers identified a young woman who suffered a severe anaphylactic-type allergic reaction after her first ingestion of Quorn. Skin prick tests were highly positive with Quorn extracts. The researchers deduced that Quorn can be cross-reactive with inhaled mold spores.

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Hoff et al. (J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 May;111(5):1106-1110)

These European researchers proved that Quorn caused an asthmatic reaction in a patient. They identified the particular protein that caused the allergic reaction. This paper is important.

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Considering how many people have been consuming it in the UK since 1986 it seems it is safe for most people to consume, while some people may be more suspect to adverse reactions. Further study is needed to determine the scale and extent of such reactions.

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Not an answer: "what percentage of mycoprotein eaters has an adverse reaction?" –  Sklivvz Feb 22 '12 at 8:30
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@Sklivvz look again - there are numbers cited by the AU data: "1 in 100,000 to 200,000 people may react to them" –  Marc Gravell Feb 22 '12 at 13:50
    
@MarcGravell indeed, but I would like to see the real research behind the claims, not other claims of a different third party :-) –  Sklivvz Feb 22 '12 at 14:38
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@sklivvz your question asks "Is mycoprotein (Quorn) safe for human consumption?". The evidence shows it is. You seem to want more specific numbers which don't seem to exist and are not necessary to answer your question. –  user6327 Feb 27 '12 at 2:08
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@Sklivvz, the Wikipedia mycoprotein page cites one in 140,000 (from the Hoff source above, and from this article in the Journal of Clinical Pathology) –  Benjol Aug 29 '12 at 13:11
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