The company launched its Food Bar, a non-organic, non-Kosher, and non-GMO-free solid bar with 12.5 percent of daily nutritional requirements, in early August this year. By September, a number of customers started to report intense nausea, "violent vomiting," and diarrhea.
According to Buzzfeed, which first reported the story, the first reaction comments to the Food Bar appeared on Soylent's online forum on Sept. 7, 2016. Since then, the thread titled "Nausea and vomiting several times after eating food bars," is being updated by users consistently (the last update was 26 minutes ago) as they describe their emesis experiences. Customers are also reporting negative experiences on Reddit.
A Soylent customer, whose handle is "jteach" and says is a school teacher, described his experience from two weeks ago:
"Last Friday, I ate one for breakfast and about an hour later began to feel nauseous. I had to run to the bathroom to vomit and then vomited once more and had awful diarrhea. I also assumed that it was a virus. This morning, I had about 1/3 of a bar and had an even more violent reaction. I vomited a total of seven times and had several runs of the runs."
Another user, "SoySister," wrote that she ate a Food Bar on September 1, and an hour later, she "was puking & having diarrhea, lasted 12-hours."
SoySister said she thought it was the stomach flu, so the following week she ate another Food Bar and experienced "more intense symptoms & profuse sweating."
According to a spreadsheet created by Soylent customer "Raylingh" to track the symptoms of other customers, about 33 people have has nausea after eating the Food Bar, 31 of them vomited, and 10 also had diarrhea.
The company, founded by Rob Rhinehart, issued a statement saying that it believes the Food Bar is safe to eat, although some users might have an allergy or intolerance to soy or artificial sweetener and sugar substitute sucralose, both of which are in the bar.
See the full statement below:
"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."