In a blog post, the Los Angeles-based start-up said it was “deeply sorry if any customer had any negative experiences after eating a Soylent Bar,” and would be reaching out via e-mail to all bar customers to offer a full refund, adding:
“After hearing from our customers, we immediately began investigating the cause of the issue and whether it was linked to a problem with the Bars. So far we have not yet identified one and this issue does not appear to affect our other drinks and powder [which contain a similar list of ingredients].
“Though our investigation into this matter continues, we have decided to err on the side of caution and take this preventative step.
“As a precautionary measure, we are halting all Soylent Bar purchases and shipments and are advising our customers to discard any remaining bars in their possession...
"Until we are absolutely certain our products are safe, they will not be shipped," added the company, which temporarily halted shipments of its flagship beverage Soylent 2.0 last fall after discovering a manufacturing glitch which caused mold to grow on the exterior of some bottles.
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
Consumers on Soylent’s online discussion forums have reported a range of issues from nausea to vomiting and diarrhea shortly after consuming the bars, which - according to the soylent website - were manufactured at Betty Lou's in McMinnville, Oregon (although references to Betty Lou's have since been removed from the website, which now simply states that soylent products are manufactured in the US).
Some commentators have speculated about whether sucralose (a widely used and exhaustively tested sweetener), or soy protein isolate (which like all proteins can cause GI issues in some consumers), are responsible.
However, both ingredients are also used in Soylent 2.0, and many of the consumers reporting GI problems note that they are regular consumers of the beverage and in some cases have also eaten the bars without experiencing any problems, suggesting that there could have been issues with a specific batch.
"It has recently come to our attention that a small number of our customers have experienced gastrointestinal issues after consuming Soylent Bars. As a precautionary measure, we are halting all Soylent Bar purchases and shipments and are advising our customers to discard any remaining bars in their possession.
"After hearing from our customers, we immediately began investigating the cause of the issue and whether it was linked to a problem with the Bars. So far we have not yet identified one and this issue does not appear to affect our other drinks and powder."
Soylent Bar: 38% calories from lipids, 43% from carbohydrates, 19% from protein
Launched in August, the bars, coupled with coffiest, a coffee-infused version of Soylent 2.0, were designed to give Soylent’s existing customers more options, Soylent founder and CEO Rob Rhinehart told FoodNavigator-USA in a recent interview.
They were also designed to attract new consumers to the Soylent franchise and deliver incremental growth to the company, which specializes in creating products offering ‘complete nutrition.’
The 250-calorie Soylent bar has a macronutrient breakdown of 38% calories from lipids, 43% calories from carbohydrates, and 19% calories from protein, providing one eighth of an average adult’s recommended dietary needs, said Rhinehart.
“It’s got a nice doughy texture with a little bit of crispiness and salted caramel flavor.”
Soylent bar ingredients list: Soy Protein Isolate, Corn Syrup, Rolled Oat, Canola Oil, Glycerine, Whole Algal Flour, Isomaltooligosaccharide, Isomaltulose, Maltodextrin, Water, Dicalcium Phosphate Anhydrous, Soy Lecithin, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Salt, Tapioca Starch, Sunflower Oil, Dipotassium Phosphate, Modified Food Starch, Potassium Chloride, Choline Bitartrate, Mixed Tocopherol, Sucralose, Mono & Diglycerides, Magnesium Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, dl-alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Tricalcium Phosphate Anhydrous, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Niacinamide, Zinc Oxide, Copper Gluconate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Potassium Iodide, Riboflavin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D2, Chromium Chloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Sodium Selenite, Sodium Molybdate, Phytonadione, Vitamin B12.