Tech bros everywhere had their dreams of a utopian future in which humans subsist solely on weird meal replacements dashed recently: Soylent halted sales of both its powdered beverage mix and its newer solid food bars after dozens of customers fell ill earlier this month.
Now, as Bloomberg reports, the company says it’s identified the culprit that was causing all that nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea: algae — or more specifically, algal flour, which is made from dried pulverized algae and frequently used “as a vegan replacement for butter and eggs.”
The LA-based startup says it’s working on new versions of both its drink powder and bars that do not contain algal flour, set to be launched in early 2017. But the supplier of the algal flour, a company called TerraVia, denies that their product was the culprit — though as Bloomberg notes, an energy bar company called Honey Stinger also had customers report nausea and vomiting earlier this year after eating their product which contained an algae-based ingredient from TerraVia.
At any rate, the news of Soylent-related illnesses has inspired plenty of schadenfreude, with the bland meal replacement’s detractors taking to Twitter in recent days to mock the product and its suddenly ironic slogan of “Free your body:
Soylent: Free Your Body— silvər ēɡəl (@SilverEagleDev) October 29, 2016
of the contents of its gastrointestinal tract https://t.co/JAdpet22Hq
This days, I can never tell if I’m puking because of the election or the Soylent.— Dave Pell (@davepell) October 28, 2016
ME: i love eating contaminated food and violently shitting and vomiting, but with my busy life i just don't have the time— luh croy (@shoegays) October 31, 2016
• Soylent Thinks It Found What Was Making People Sick: Algae [Bloomberg]
• Soylent Halts Powder Sales After Customers Get Sick [E]
• Soylent’s Solid Food Bars Are Allegedly Making People Violently Ill [E]