Tech by VICE

Soylent Stops Selling Powder While It Investigates Customer Sickness Complaints

The Soylent bar wasn't the only problem.

by Samantha Cole
Oct 28 2016, 3:59pm

Image: Soylent

Oh boy, Soylent. The post-food people are back at it again with the stomach problems. This time, it's not the Bars that are getting investigated, but their Powder 1.6 product, which is turning up similar symptoms.

The company has stopped all distribution and sales of the powder for now. It announced in a blog post yesterday that all of their products tested negative for contamination and pathogens. But they're hoping to find out what's making some people sick as soon as possible:

"During our review, we noticed that a handful of consumers (less than 0.1%) who consumed Powder 1.6 over the past several months reported stomach-related symptoms that are consistent with what our Bar customers described. Interestingly, we didn't see similar complaints during the 1.5 formulation. This possible connection allows us to narrow the field considerably given there are only a few ingredients that are specific to only our bars and Powder 1.6."

As with the Bars, Soylent diehards have been posting their Powder 1.6 experiences online, with reports of stomach acid, cramps, and "terrible shits."

Reddit user zhandragon, who says their diet is 90 to 100 percent Soylent 1.6 for the last two weeks, reported multiple, pus-filled blisters or abscesses. "It's happened on my fingers, lips, and on one part of my leg. I also seem to have an overactive inflammation response, and my toes are swollen from simply just rubbing in my shoes. My hands are more sensitive to opening objects such as a soda bottle and hurt afterwards."

Comments for this suffering person have been surprisingly calm. User fastertoday responded, "Are you eating enough Soylent?"

Read more: Soylent Is 'Getting to the Bottom' of Its Diarrhea Problem

The company's statement doesn't urge consumers to trash their Powder 1.6, as it did with the Bars. But it is reformulating both Bar and Powder 1.6 to "remove the likely ingredients" by early 2017 or sooner. "We value our customers' safety and satisfaction with our products above all else and we apologize again to any customer who had a bad experience," the statement concludes.

That's a change of tune from their previous statement about a "certain subpopulation" that's unable to join them in the shining future of food-like products.

Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter.