The rumblings in Soylent’s supply chain continue to cause distress, with TerraVia — maker of the algal flour used in a number of Soylent products — severing ties with the food-replacement company. The news comes after Soylent blamed the use of algal flour in its Soylent Powder and Soylent Bars for a wave of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that struck consumers.
Unsurprisingly, TerraVia isn’t happy to be blamed for this mess. The company’s CEO Apu Mody said he was “surprised and disappointed” by Soylent’s behavior, and after fulfilling its existing supply commitments last week, TerraVia will no longer ship Soylent its algal flour.
However, it’s not clear who fired first in this spat. Although TerraVia’s press release indicates that it stopped shipments to Soylent in response to the company’s actions, Soylent itself says it has already redesigned its products to remove algal flour altogether, suggesting it never intended to continue business with TerraVia. For its part, TerraVia states that it tried to work with Soylent to find the cause of the GI issues, but that the company “made no data available” to prove that algal flour was to blame.
In a statement given to Ars Technica, Soylent said TerraVia’s decision will have “no impact” on its products. “We have already re-released Powder (v 1.7) without algal flour and halted shipments of [the snack] Bar until it is reformulated,” said the company. “Although our ready-to-drink line does not contain the ingredients of concern, we have already developed versions without algae out of an abundance of caution. Customers will continue to receive Powder, Drink, and Coffiest without delay.”
A further complication noted by Ars is that TerraVia is currently the subject of a class action complaint, with an investor claiming that the company failed to properly disclose the fact its products cause gastrointestinal distress. By publicly cutting ties with Soylent, TerraVia may simply be trying to shift attention back to the company.
Update December 21st, 18.30PM ET: Updated the article to clarify TerraVia’s actions prior to stopping shipments to Soylent.