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Soylent's New Bar Is Giving People Diarrhea

The subreddit for the food replacement is filled with tales of misery and woe.

by Samantha Cole
Oct 7 2016, 1:51pm

The Soylent Bar. Image: Soylent

As observed by @weeaboo on Twitter, the Soylent subreddit is at turns delightful and bizarre. Mostly, it's filled with people extolling their favorite definitely-not-made-from-people food product for revolutionizing their eating routines and making their regular checkups damn delightful. These people are the Crossfitters of food: The methods are questionably extreme, but the results look pretty good.

Until everyone starts barfing and shitting uncontrollably.

Commenters on Reddit, as well as Soylent's own message boards, are reporting problems with the newest iterations of Food Bar and Soylent 2.0 drinks.

Redditor pernambuco asks, "How many here have experienced vomiting after eating a Bar?"

Raise of hands, y'all! The Soylent Bar, for the uninitiated, contains "12.5% of your daily nutritional requirements," according to the product page, and is made of soy protein, algal flour, Isomaltulose and various vitamins and minerals. But as the unlucky pernambuco continues...

"Early in September, I experienced intense vomiting about 3-4 hours after eating a Food Bar. The vomiting lasted several hours. I think it was probably the worst vomiting episode I ever experienced. I did not experience diarrhea."

So, not having diarrhea is the silver lining, here? Cool. It's truly a diehard fandom that's undeterred by several hours of puking. "I want to see it succeed greatly and I think it will," this Redditor adds in conclusion to his tale.

Several comments following the original post detail their own experiences. See the sad story of WestTexasRedneck:

"Happened to me about a month ago as well, all I had eaten that day was some 2.0 and a bar (with 1966 on it). I didn't email RL initially because I assumed it was just a stomach bug or something. With all the recent discussion, I did email them yesterday, gave them info from my remaining bars, and they offered me a replacement or refund. I chose the refund."

Jourdnormous didn't fare much better:

"After eating one in the middle of the day I became very nauseous and had awful diarrhea. Nothing else in my diet had changed so when I saw on the subreddit that other had similar problems there was no doubt in my mind what the cause was."

At least kaybee41906's problems with Soylent don't run in the family...

"I don't know what batch I have, but I ate half a bar and very nearly threw up. My mom, however, has been eating that same box with no problem."

Not everyone escaped diarrhea-free, as was the unfortunate case of the "Food Bars make me violently ill" thread, started by TipsFirstStupid.

"So I have ate a total of about 4 bars now, all different days, and I keep ending up in one or two spots: so nauseous I have to puke, followed by horrible diarrhea -option 2 I don't get nauseous but still have uncontrollable diarrhea"

The JUL17 1966 batch, as others note, seems to be a major suspect in the Case of the Future Food Flu. It's gotten so bad that Soylent lovers made a spreadsheet to cross-check each other's experiences.

As Gizmodo pointed out, this isn't the first time Soylent's looking shady in the public health department. Environmental health watchdog As You Sow filed legal action against Soylent in August 2015, claiming that "one serving of Soylent 1.5 can expose a consumer to a concentration of lead that is 12 to 25 times above California's Safe Harbor level for reproductive health, and a concentration of cadmium that is at least 4 times greater than the Safe Harbor level for cadmium."

Soylent countered with their own California Prop 65 explainer page, saying their product remains "completely safe and nutritious"

But some of these recent 2.0 batch clearly have issues, whether related to their previous battles or not: "There is an unpleasant metallic taste going on," "tastes extremely different than the other batches," "a lingering metallic bitterness that left my tongue slightly raw."

Another Solyent drinker seeks some solace on whether his bottle had mold on it, or if there's some other quality control issue causing the bottle to not seal properly. The 2.0 batch uses a new kind of seal, which involves a silicon seal inside the top of the lid.

"Mold is back, double check your 2.0 before chugged," a Redditor advises when the question arises. Soylent ditched the old foil-sealing method with 2.0 and in their Coffiest product packaging, to seriously mixed reviews from their drinkers. People love Soylent enough to hate taking a few extra seconds longer to peel a foil seal off of the lid.

Soylent's official statement on all of this, issued to Motherboard on Oct. 6, reads:

"We have become aware via our support channels of a limited number of instances of people experiencing indigestion or discomfort following consumption of our Soylent bar. To date the number of complaints we have received represents less than 0.03% of the number of bars we have sold. While this is an extremely small number of complaints, and all packaged and prepared food products have some risk of intolerance, we take every single one very seriously.

The safety and quality of our bars is verified via a comprehensive food industry standard program. First, we exclusively source from qualified suppliers and use only those ingredients that include a certificate of analysis (COA) for rigorous physical, chemical and microbiological criteria. Second, the bars are manufactured at an FDA inspected, GFSI certified facility under a thorough food safety and quality program. Lastly, the bars are subjected to an additional microbiological testing program before being released from the co-manufacturer and sent to our warehouses.

After these reports, we have retrieved remaining bars from our consumers and have personally consumed many of the remaining bars without adverse effects. We have also sent them for further microbiological testing and all tests have come back negative. Based on this we remain very confident in the safety of the bars.

A certain subpopulation of individuals may have an allergy, intolerance or sensitivity to ingredients such as soy and / or sucralose, or certain vitamin and mineral sources and should consult with their doctor before continuing to consume these products."

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