Soylent's Newest Recall Is Over Unwanted Dairy

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Almost every product the techie food company has put out has faced a recall at some point.

Full disclosure: I like Soylent. The bizarre meal-replacement beverage is admittedly a bit hokey, but I do find an odd futuristic romanticism in a world where we live off a single foodstuff. That said, it definitely takes a certain type of person to use Soylent for its touted ability to pretty much replace eating all together. And lest you think I’m being totally hyperbolic, the brand’s website does say, “Some people use Soylent almost exclusively.” Those core customers (if they exist) would have to be type-A personalities, hyper-focused on what they consume and anal enough to rarely stray from that dedication. After its most recent recall, you have to wonder if Soylent customers might be reaching their wits’ end. The problem is getting bad enough that some people are wondering if a total rebrand could be in order.

On April 24, Soylent announced that it was recalling 890 boxes, in total 6,230 pouches, of Soylent 1.8 Powder due to “undeclared milk” stemming from the possible accidental incorporation of a “small amount of whey powder.” Since all Soylent products purport to be vegan, animal-free and lactose-free, whey is an obvious no-no. And as the allergy conscious company states in the recall, “People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.” At this point, no illnesses have been reported.

So how did whey possibly find its way into the supposedly vegan power? Soylent says it issued the recall “after it was discovered that the milk-containing product was handled adjacent to the production lines for Soylent 1.8 powder. Subsequent investigation indicated that the potential cross-contact was caused by a temporary breakdown in our 3rd party manufacturer’s production and packaging processes.” The issue appears to be fixed because Soylent states “this will not impact future shipments of Powder 1.8.”

Soylent is offering a full refund or replacement products to anyone who purchased the possibly contaminated powders (specific lot numbers can be found on the recall page), apologized for the inconvenience and wrote that “transparency is one of our core values and your health and well-being is our number one priority.” Unfortunately, however, transparency has become a big part of Soylent’s business over the past few years: Since 2015, the brand has been forced to either recall or stop production on almost every product in its lineup at some point: Soylent Drinks, Powder, Food Bars and “Coffiest” coffee beverage have all had issues. Maybe Soylent’s core customers are as anal as I think? Maybe they’re just too lazy to go grocery shopping.

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