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Soylent Under Fire for Allegedly Failing to Provide Adequate Warnings on Its Labels

A watchdog group claims that the nutritional powder's packaging doesn't comply with California law.

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The Verge

Weird nutritional food replacement Soylent is under fire for allegedly violating California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, which requires companies to provide consumers with warnings on products that contain detectable amounts of harmful chemicals. On Thursday, environmental health watchdog As You Sow filed a 60-day notice of intent to bring legal action against the nutrient powder manufacturer, according to a release.

The non-profit organizations says that two separate tests conducted on Soylent 1.5 at an independent laboratory revealed "that one serving of Soylent 1.5 can expose a consumer to a concentration of lead that is 12 to 25 times above California's Safe Harbor level for reproductive health, and a concentration of cadmium that is at least 4 times greater than the Safe Harbor level for cadmium." Lead exposure can lead to neurological impairments, while cadmium has been linked to kidney, liver, and bone damage.

"With stories about Silicon Valley coders sometimes eating three servings a day, this is of very high concern to the health of these tech workers."

On its website, Soylent states that its product is "completely safe and nutritious." Adding that the powder " is not in violation of any product-safety standards or requirements, and is manufactured in FDA-approved facilities that follow federally regulated current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP)." Carol Brophy, an attorney with experience defending clients in cases related to the California labeling law tells Food-Navigator USA that As You Sow's accusations are "alarmist" and operate on the assumption that consumers eat "nothing but Soylent every day."

In response, As You Sow points out that the Silicon Valley-backed company markets the product for use as a "staple meal by all adults." The watchdog's CEO Andrew Behar notes that "With stories about Silicon Valley coders sometimes eating three servings a day, this is of very high concern to the health of these tech workers." In January, the company announced that it had raised an unprecedented $20 million in funding from investors and planned to expand its shipping and manufacturing capabilities. Still, that won't make the beige, joyless liquid "food" taste good.

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