The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has taken action that led to a cessation of shipments of Soylent to Canadian customers, according to Soylent producer Rosa Foods.
As Ars reported two years ago, Rosa Foods began shipping Soylent in Canada in July of 2015. Then, there was a recall of the meal replacement bars related to some customers experiencing gastrointestinal distress in late 2016, triggered by Rosa Foods itself. This regulatory result appears to be unrelated to that event.
In this case, a Monday statement from Rosa Foods CEO Rob Rhinehart explained that the CFIA's issue with Soylent is that it does not meet some requirements (not specified by Rhinehart) for a "meal replacement."
"Although we feel strongly that these requirements do not reflect the current understanding of human nutritional needs, we respect the CFIA’s regulations and will fully comply with any regulatory action they deem appropriate," Rhineheart said in the statement.
A FAQ from Rosa Foods clarified that "there is nothing wrong with the Soylent you've been drinking," and that it's a regulatory issue, not necessarily a safety one.
According to the company, Rosa Foods was notified of the CFIA's concern in early October and attempted to work to resolve it. When it wasn't resolved, Soylent shipments were stopped in Canada. The company said that it intends to continue to work to satisfy the regulators so that it can begin sending shipments again, and that customers will not be charged for shipments that cannot be sent.
Soylent has been controversial since it hit the market, but generally more for its potential cultural impact than for safety reasons. Ars editor Lee Hutchinson ate nothing but Soylent for a week and found it to generally be a successful experiment. The product worked for him for a week, but the impact of longterm usage could be uncertain. As some Canadian Soylent customers have made Soylent a key part of their diet, Rosa Foods promised that it will be "sending updates about future availability to Canadian customers via e-mail" as it continues to seek the CFIA's approval. No timeline was given.
Soylent did not immediately respond to Ars' request for comment.