Food Recall: Bonsoy soy milk with very high levels of iodine

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 24th December 2009

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.