Sale Of Soylent Meal Replacement Now Illegal In Canada

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has a standard for any food to qualify as a “meal replacement” and Soylent just fell short of the standard. The makers of the on-the-go meal replacement powder formulated for busy professionals have announced that it is no longer allowed to sell the product in Canada.

The advert of the product claims it has all the nutrients a person needs without going through the rigors of chewing. The CFIA ban which takes effect this week makes the sale of Soylent illegal in Canada.

Rob Rhinehart, the CEO of Soylent, in a reaction to the decision said the Agency was using an outdated standard. However, he pledged that Soylent will abide by the decision of the government – although it appears the meal replacement product has no options in this case. He said,

“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.”

The product was named after a science fiction movie of 1973, Soylent Green. In the movie, global warming and overpopulation forced the human race to lean towards engineered foods including those made from human remains.

The acceptance of the product saw the company’s sales grow rapidly from to about 300% in the last few years (between 2015 and 2016). Through a successful crowdfunding campaign, the company was able to raise $74.5m in funding.

According to the company, each bottle contained 20% of the daily nutritional requirement and 400 calories made from soy protein in combination with other natural supplements.

It can be recalled that The Verge has once described Soylent as “powdered science” and “a thick nutritional sludge”. The “meal supplement” which was developed in Silicon Valley, is supposed to be a futuristic substitute for eating actual meals – which could cost busy ones to lose precious time.

The decision of the Canadian government means no new Soylent can be shipped to Canadian customers. A year earlier, Soylent had a rift with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency following the recall of one of its “food bars” after some people were reported ill after its consumption. Rhinehart says there is no issue with the safety of the product this time,

“There is nothing wrong with the Soylent product you are consuming, this issue emerged from regulatory compliance, not product quality.”

Soylent has been available in Canada since June 2015. The drinks and powders are meant to be mixed with water. The CFIA said in an email they contacted the company earlier in the month,

“As part of routine import inspection activities, the CFIA identified that certain Soylent products were not in compliance with the Food and Drug Regulations with regards to meal replacement.”

In a further statement, CFIA said there was no need to recall the products remaining on the shelves since it posed no immediate health risk to consumers. There are no details as to whether the product will be reintroduced into the market.

Have you used Soylent before? What do you think about the decision to ban the product? Let us know your opinion in the comment box. 


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