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Bonsoy soy milk recall goes global

In late December 2009, the soy milk drink Bonsoy was recalled because of high levels of iodine. Japanese, Australian and New Zealand food safety authorities advised people not to consume Bonsoy soy milk following reports of one newborn and a cluster of nine adults aged from 29 to 47 from New South Wales who suffered thyroid problems after consuming the beverage. The product is packaged in one litre Tetra packs and has a best-before date of up to and including November 3, 2011. The recall has spread to Singapore, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Bonsoy soy milk is also distributed in Croatia, the Netherlands and Spain, but there is no word yet on whether the recall affects these countries.

Spiral Foods, the distributor of Bonsoy, voluntarily initiated the recall in Australia and New Zealand on Dec. 24, 2009 after health authorities the reported the health problems. A week later the Food Safety Authority expanded the recall to the UK and on Dec. 5 the recall was extended further to Ireland. This week, Singapore added the product to their recall list. The recall includes products sold at retail stores and in coffee shops. Bonsoy is also sold in a powder blend, but it is not yet known if this form is also affected by the recall.

Product testing revealed samples with unusually high levels of iodine and determined that daily consumption of Bonsoy soy milk could lead to a daily iodine intake of more than 7,500 micrograms. The amount of iodine in the Bonsoy soy milk was 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.

Bonsoy is enriched with Kombu seaweed, which contains naturally occurring iodine, though as of press time the exact cause of the contamination was not yet known. Spiral Foods is cooperating with authorities to pinpoint the cause. Bonsoy is sold in the Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Croatia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, the Netherlands and Spain.

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