Earlier this month, meal replacement startup Soylent announced that it would voluntarily stop selling its new-to-market Soylent nutrition bar after receiving reports from customers who became ill after consuming the snack. Now, the company says it will expand that action to include certain meal-replacement powder after receiving similar issues.
Soylent announced on Thursday that it would stop the sale of Powder 1.6 — which is designed to be mixed with water and consumed instead of solid food — and advised customers who have shown sensitivity to the product to discard whatever is left.
The move was made after an “aggressive” investigation to uncover why people were having negative experiences after eating Soylent Food Bars. The investigation included “product testing, an exhaustive industry search, and discussions with many of our suppliers,” the company said in a blog post. “Our tests all came back negative for food pathogens, toxins or outside contamination.”
At that point, the company says it began to shift its focus to whether any one ingredient could be triggering a food intolerance, noting that such an issue would explain why not all customers had become ill after eating the products.
During the review, the company says it noticed that a handful of consumers — less than 0.1%, according to Soylent — who consumed Powder 1.6 over the past several months reported stomach-related symptoms that were consistent with what Bar customers described.
Previously, customers shared their experiences on Soylent’s own forum and a Soylent subreddit describing becoming violently ill after consuming the snack bars.
In one post a customer describes experiencing intense vomiting about three to four hours after eating a Food Bar.
“The vomiting lasted several hours. I think it was probably the worst vomiting episode I ever experienced. I did not experience diarrhea,” the customer wrote on the subreddit.
Another user said he became “so nauseous” he had to puke and followed that episode with diarrhea.
Because Soylent did not find similar complaints in its Powder 1.5 product, the company believes a possible connection between the Powder 1.6 and Food Bar could come down to the only ingredient specific to both products.
While the company plans to continue to look into the matter further and share its findings with the Food and Drug Administration, it wants to “err on the side of caution” by stopping sales of Powder 1.6 and advising customers not to use it if they have experience stomach discomfort.
Soylent says it will reformulate the Bar and Powder products to remove the common ingredient, with new products expected to be available in early 2017.
So far, the company says it has not heard any complaints related to its Soylent Drink or Coffiest products.
“We value our customers’ safety and satisfaction with our products above all else and we apologize again to any customer who had a bad experience,” the company said.
by Ashlee Kieler via Consumerist