National Product Recall – Bonsoy soy milk with very high levels of iodine
Food Standards Australia New Zealand has advised people not to consume Bonsoy soy milk. Coffee shops, retail and other outlets should also not use this product.
This follows a cluster of nine adults aged from 29 to 47, and one child, who have recently presented in NSW with thyroid problems. These individuals all reported consuming Bonsoy soy milk. Subsequent testing of samples of Bonsoy soy milk revealed unusually high levels of iodine. This brand of soy milk is enriched with “Kombu” which is a seaweed product.
A consumer-level recall for the Bonsoy soy milk is being voluntarily instigated by the importer today.
The levels of iodine in the Bonsoy soy milk were at a level that is likely to exceed tolerable daily intakes for iodine when as little as 30ml (one eighth of a cup) is consumed per day by an adult.
Iodine is needed for the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones. A healthy daily iodine intake is about 80–150 micrograms with a recommended safe upper limit of 1,100 micrograms per day for adults, and from 200 micrograms for 1-3 year olds to 900micrograms for 14 year-olds.
Daily consumption of a cup of Bonsoy soy milk could lead to a daily iodine intake of more than 7,500 micrograms at the levels tested. Chronic consumption of high levels of iodine may affect the thyroid and cause people to feel generally unwell. Anybody consuming Bonsoy soy milk product over a prolonged time who feels generally unwell should consult their doctor.
The body excretes iodine, so when a source of high iodine ceases, levels in the body will decrease over time.
The only soy milk product identified through testing to have high levels of iodine to date is Bonsoy soy milk.
Media contact: Lydia Buchtmann FSANZ 02 6271 2620 or 0401 714 265 or +61 2 6271 2620 or +61 401 714 265 from New Zealand
Note that this information was developed by health professionals to assist with consumer enquiries during the Bonsoy Soy Milk recall
What is Iodine?
Iodine is a mineral and an essential nutrient for life. It’s found in the foods we eat, air we breathe and water we drink. It is also used as a disinfectant.
Why do we need iodine?
The thyroid, a small butterfly shaped gland in the neck, needs iodine to produce thyroid hormones, which are essential because they regulate our metabolism. In children, especially young children, including the developing foetus, thyroid hormones help regulate physical and mental development.
How does iodine enter and leave my body?
Most of the iodine that enters your body comes from the foods we consume, with smaller amounts coming from the water we drink and air we breathe. The iodine that enters your body goes to the thyroid where it is used to produce thyroid hormones. Iodine is generally excreted through the kidneys in urine, some through breast milk and very small amounts may be excreted through sweat and faeces. The time it takes your body to excrete half of the iodine you consumed in one day is approximately one month.
What foods contain iodine?
Iodine is found in seawater so any type of seafood provides a source, particularly seaweed (kelp). Some Australian table salt has iodine added to it and iodised salt is required to be used in the manufacture of all bread except organic bread. Dairy products, eggs and some vegetables are also known to contain iodine.
How much iodine do we need?
Iodine is a trace mineral and so we need only very small amounts. These amounts are measured in micrograms (µg). Although only small amounts are needed, we need iodine regularly because we cannot store large amounts in the body.
The recommended dietary intake/day (RDI) for iodine depends on your age and life stage:
- Younger children (1 to 8 years) – 90µg
- Older children (9 to 13 years, boys and girls) – 120µg
Adolescents and adults (14 years + )– 150µg