Soylent has paused production on its main product, the Soylent Powder, after determining that it’s been making people sick.
That’s now two items that Soylent has had to halt production of: the Soylent Powder, and previously, the Soylent Bar. Soylent said that both products led to “discomfort” in “a small number” of consumers.
The company has been inundated with social media reports over the past few weeks with customers complaining of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea after consuming its products. Soylent believes that less than 0.1 percent of people are seeing this kind of reaction. It’s not yet sure what in the foods is causing it.
A replacement formula will likely ship next year
Soylent says it’s been doing testing and research to determine what’s going wrong. Food tests, it says, have come “back negative for food pathogens, toxins, or outside contamination.” The company says it will share its findings with the FDA.
For the time being, Soylent is going to stop shipments of all Soylent Powder, as it did with the Soylent Bars earlier this month. It plans to rework both products in part by going off an earlier formula. It hopes to begin shipping updated versions within the first few months of 2017.
The issues cropping up like this are on some level a function of Soylent’s approach to food. The company is continually iterating on its own product and is very public about the changes it makes. It’s put out a succession of new products over the past several months, and it’s clear now that acting like a startup when it comes to food has its downsides — clearly, more testing was needed.
“I've been getting a really bad diarrhea side effect too.”
Another of Soylent’s new products, Coffiest, has also been subject to reports of making people ill. “I wanted to believe it was something else getting me sick, but every morning for the past month-and-a-half I have been lightheaded and can't concentrate,” writes a Reddit user who goes by blazedentertainment.
Someone else responded: “Hey dude, I've been getting this too, thought it was only me. I've been getting a really bad diarrhea side effect too.”
Reports of Coffiest making people sick appear to be far less common. And so far, Soylent has not acknowledged them. It says that there have been “no complaints” about Coffiest or the ready-made version of Soylent’s Powder (called Soylent Drink).
For the Powder, Soylent’s current suspicion is that one of the “few” ingredients that changed between version 1.5 and 1.6, released in June, is “triggering a food intolerance” in some people.