In the early 1960s a lot of experts became concerned over the predictions for growth of the world’s population, and that this would lead to a serious global food shortage 

A British industrialist, Lord Rank and otherwise known as the movie mogul J Arthur Rank, was Chairman of the Rank Hovis McDougall group of companies, a major manufacturer of cereals.

Lord Rank wanted to do something about the impending food crisis. He asked his research director Dr Arnold Spicer, to develop a process that could turn their main waste product, which was starch, into a nutritious protein food.

Unfortunately, other attempts to create new foods had shown that it was possible to create great flavour and colour; it was difficult to create a great texture. Dr Spicer discovered that a fungus could hold the key to creating texture because of its filamentous cell structure.

After a long search and many trials, the fungus Fusarium graminearum (now reclassified as Fusarium venenatum) was discovered to give them the right texture, protein levels and was safe to consume. It was initially given the food code A3/5, which was changed in 1974 by the UK Food Standards Committee to mycoprotein. 

With our current predictions for climate change that is threatening the availability of land for meat production, mycoprotein may yet be set to fulfil its original mission, which was to provide the world with a nutritious, abundant, environmentally friendly source of protein.

Important but Small Health Warning:

Some adverse reactions have been reported. However, considering how many people have been consuming Mycoproteins 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. For example, those with a known allergic reaction to mould may have reactions to Mycoproteins.  

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