Soylent fixed its sickness-inducing powder, but made an enemy in the process

Soylent has released the promised updated powder that, hopefully, eliminates whatever it was that made some of its customers sick. The powder is called formula 1.7, and as the company previously stated, it doesn't include algal flour, the alleged source of the illnesses. In the process, though, Soylent earned itself some ill feelings from now-former partner TerraVia, which supplied the algal flour that Soylent cited as the cause of the sickness.

The issue started with the arrival of Soylent Powder 1.6, which caused some customers to experience gastrointestinal distress of various sorts. Though the issue is said to have affected only a small number of customers, Soylent pulled the implicated products from the market. A company investigation into the matter didn't find toxins or contamination, according to Soylent, and so it pointed fingers at algal powder, a new ingredient, as the cause.

That algal powder was supplied by TerraVia, which had at the time countered with a statement that Soylent has various 'known irritants' like glycerin that could be the cause. Soylent still continued with the removal of the algal flour, however, and now TerraVia has announced that it will no longer supply any ingredients to Soylent.

In a statement, TerraVia CEO Apu Mody:

We are surprised and disappointed that Soylent rushed to imply that algal flour is to blame and removed the ingredient without providing any evidence that they conducted a full investigation of their formulations and the more than 40 ingredients in their products, as would be standard practice in the food industry.

TerraVia goes on to say that its algal flour is Generally Recognized as Safe, and that it has been used in more than 20 million servings of products without any reports of it causing illnesses. The company goes on to say that it doesn't believe Soylent conducted a 'rigorous investigation' into the cause of the illnesses, and that its removal and condemnation of algal flour was premature.

SOURCE: BusinessWire