What is Mycoprotein?

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  • Written By: KD Morgan
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 September 2017
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Mycoprotein is a meat substitute made from the fusarium venenatum fungi. While this organism does grow naturally, for food purposes it is processed in a controlled environment using oxygen, nitrogen, glucose, vitamins and minerals.

Once the mycoprotein is harvested, filtered and drained; it is bound with free-range eggs, textured and seasoned into a palatable vegetarian protein. Next it is processed and packaged into a variety of chicken, turkey and ground meat substitutes. Mycoprotein is an excellent source of biotin, fiber, iron, protein and zinc. It is naturally low in fat and calories, while reporting zero cholesterol. This high quality protein also contains 9 essential amino acids.

This mycoprotein ingredient is unique to other meat substitutes and marketed worldwide under the trade name of Quorn™. While making its debut in Britain in 1985, Quorn™ has been sold in the United States and other major countries since 2002.


There have been some heated disputes questioning the safety of using mycoprotein for human consumption. While some gastrointestinal and allergic discomforts have been reported, most agree there have rarely been adverse reactions. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has been working to convince the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to order all mycoprotein products off the market. At the very least, they recommend the relabeling of all the Quorn™ products as molds rather than their current status as fungi. There is some question as to the validity of the CSPI’s concerns because there are reported connections between the CSPI and some competitive meat substitute producer.

Those who consider mycoprotein a healthy, meat alternative view it as coming from the same family as mushrooms, truffles and morels. Like yeast, fusarium venenatum has been around for thousands of years and is considered natural and harmless. Advocates consider mycoprotein a safe food of the future. They subscribe that the only reactions reported were from a few who have sensitivities to all fungi.

All of the Quorn™ products have contributed greatly to the variety of meat substitute options available to vegetarians and those who have health and religious sensitivities. For those who cannot eat soy products, this has especially been a welcome addition. Some Quorn™ products do contain wheat, however, and may not be appropriate for people who have wheat or gluten allergies. With the growing preferences for vegetarian and food sensitive diets, the consensus has been that mycoprotein foods greatly enhance the vegetarian options. This protein source has been approved by the Vegetarian Society.


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Post 6

Soy gives me acne, so I prefer love mycoprotein. I've been fine after eating all the quorn products I've tried so far, with the exception of the chicken pieces. Every time I've had the chicken pieces, I've felt sick after, although the chicken burgers never make me feel sick. Maybe the processing is different for each product. Other than quorn, I mostly eat very light foods like salads and fruits so mycoprotein leaves a "heavy" feeling in my stomach, but in the same way as real meat leaves a heavy feeling. That's my experience with mycoprotein.

Post 5

Hours of intense vomiting and diarrhea followed by reduced consciousness, inability to talk or walk, treatment for shock and if fluid replacement in an ER seem pretty adverse to me. That was my husband after his first meal of quorn two years ago. The ER doc thought it was norovirus. He had it again last night, first time since, and again got very ill. He is in bed today. I think there should be a warning.

Post 1

I'm sensitive to soy isolates and as a vegetarian mycoprotein was a great gift. I was disappointed with the stance of the CSPI and hope all the fuss blows over. I would like to know how energy intensive is the cultivation of mycoproteins?

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