clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Soylent Blames Algae for Making Customers Violently Ill

The company is reformulating its beverage mix and bars


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 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]

Sign up for the Sign up for the Eater newsletter

The freshest news from the food world every day