A consumer group is accusing the marketer of a fungus-based meat substitute of "deceptive labelling" and has filed a complaint with the US Food and Drug Administration, Advertising Age reports.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest took issue with the label claims of Quorn, a meatless product being marketed by AstraZeneca's Marlow Foods division. The group said the label, which claims Quorn is "mushroom-based," is misleading because the product is derived from a novel fungal mycoprotein that does not come from a mushroom.
The report continues that the group has complained that Quorn's application for FDA approval, which was granted earlier this year, did not test for the possibility the fungal protein could produce allergies.
Quorn, billed by its backers as "the first new food since the potato," includes an eight-item line of entrees being launched later this year, to be backed by a $7 million (€7.98m) to $10 million TV, print and promotion campaign.
The product has been marketed for several years in Europe, where it has amassed a $150 million business, the report continues.
Quorn Foods Vice President and General Manager David Wilson said he was disappointed by the complaint, noting that CSPI itself had listed Quorn as a "Best Bite" in its March issue. He said Quorn's label lists the meat substitute as a mycoprotein, which means fungal protein, though an asterisk explains mycoprotein as "mushroom in origin."
Mr. Wilson added that 20 years of sales in Europe showed no documented case of allergic reactions, though there had been some incidents he described as "intolerance" for the product.