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Reformulated Bonsoy soy milk without kombu seaweed to return to shelves (April 2010)

In 2010, a soy milk product containing kombu seaweed was recalled following nine cases of people with thyroid problems. The product was subsequently reformulated to make it safe to consume and was returned to sale. The following information was provided at the time.


28 April 2010

Food and Health authorities today confirmed that Bonsoy soy milk, reformulated without kombu seaweed extract, could return to sale.

On the 24 December 2009, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) coordinated a national food recall and issued a media release advising people not to consume Bonsoy soy milk with all best before dates. This followed a cluster of nine adults aged from 29 to 47, and one child, who presented in NSW with thyroid problems.

A national medical reporting system has been established in Australia. Between 23 December 2009 and 15 March 2010, there were 50 cases of thyroid dysfunction reported to public health units in Australia that are suspected to be associated with the consumption of Bonsoy soy milk.

Bonsoy soy milk was enriched with kombu which is a seaweed product. Upon testing, the Bonsoy milk with added kombu was found to be the only product with excessively high levels of iodine. This product was also recalled in the UK, Ireland, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The iodine in the Bonsoy soy milk is likely to exceed the safe limit for iodine when as little as 30ml (one eighth of a cup) is consumed per day by an adult. The only soy milk product identified through testing to have high levels of iodine was Bonsoy soy milk.

FSANZ is also coordinating further testing of a range of beverages enriched with seaweed and other seaweed containing products. Any found to have unsafe levels of iodine will be recalled.

Food and health authorities remind anyone with one litre tetra packs of the original Bonsoy soy milk with kombu, with all best before dates, that they should not consume them and should safely dispose of them or return same to place of purchase. Anyone who has consumed the earlier batches of Bonsoy with kombu over a prolonged time and who feels generally unwell should consult their doctor.

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