Food that doesn’t require a single chew: What could go wrong? A lot, apparently. That’s the case at Soylent, the Silicon Valley startup specializing in powdered meal replacements and food bars. Just weeks after a number of consumers complained that Soylent’s food bars made them sick, it now appears something might be wrong with its powders, too. The company is halting sales of the suspect products as a result.
Created by LA-based software engineer Rob Rhinehart in 2013, Soylent has raised millions of dollars in venture capital funding and bills itself as the future of food. That future, it seems, now hangs in the balance.
A slew of customers took to Soylent forums earlier this month to complain that the brand’s food bars were making them violently ill. In a blog post published Thursday, Soylent said that the powders are making some people sick, too: “During our review, we noticed that a handful of consumers (less than 0.1%) who consumed Powder 1.6 over the past several months reported stomach-related symptoms that are consistent with what our Bar customers described.”
The company says it has “worked aggressively” to uncover the problem, testing products and reaching out to suppliers. So far, they can’t seem to figure out the culprit, though they note that the bars and powders do have some common ingredients.
“Our tests all came back negative for food pathogens, toxins or outside contamination,” reads the post. Still, the company isn’t taking any chances, announcing it would be reformulating bar and powder versions 1.6. “We will resume shipping when the reformulation is complete,” reads the post, which should be in early 2017.
The company says those who have gotten sick from Soylent powder should throw it away and contact Soylent. Those who haven't gotten sick, however, can keep consuming the product. The company advises all of its food bars be thrown away. According to its blog, Soylent will continue looking into the issue and will eventually share its findings with the FDA “so that they can do their own evaluation.”
Maybe this is an opportunity for Soylent consumers to consider eating real food again.