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Venture Capital

Soylent Ships Reformulated Powder Mix After Illnesses

The food-tech startup begins selling a version of its meal-replacement powder without algal flour, an ingredient it believes made people sick.

Soylent said it began shipping an updated version of its meal-replacement powder after a string of complaints that the previous formula was making people sick.

Rosa Foods Inc., the Los Angeles maker of Soylent, said the new powder mix no longer contains algal flour. The company believes the algae-based ingredient was causing stomach issues reported by customers, Bloomberg reported last month. "With these changes, our team believes we have responded to the issues a small number of community members experienced," Soylent wrote in a blog post.

Soylent's products have been eagerly embraced by busy techies looking for a quick and healthy replacement for a meal. The startup is backed by Silicon Valley venture capitalists, including Andreessen Horowitz.

In October, Soylent stopped selling its Powder 1.6 product and recalled its protein bars after people who consumed them said they experienced nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. While the company had said it would ship revised versions early next year, it's ahead of schedule with the new mix, known as Soylent Powder 1.7. Soylent Chief Executive Officer Rob Rhinehart said Friday that the company will relaunch its protein bars next year.

Soylent's algae-based ingredients were supplied by TerraVia Holdings Inc. Mark Brooks, senior vice president at the supplier, told Bloomberg last month that its whole algal flour is safe to consume and that Soylent products contain several known irritants. In an e-mail Friday, Brooks wrote: "We have continued to try and work collaboratively with Soylent on their investigation in accordance with food industry best practice. To date, Soylent has made no data available that would substantiate its decision."

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