Food Standards Agency
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Iodine warning on soya drink update

Food safety authorities in Australia and New Zealand informed the Food Standards Agency last year about high levels of iodine in a soya drink called 'Bonsoy', which some people use as an alternative to milk. We are issuing an update on what is happening.

Following the notification, we have investigated the distribution of Bonsoy Soya drink in the UK. We have notified the main importer as well as the retail distributors of this product and have advised them to withdraw the product from sale. The distributors have confirmed that all existing stocks of Bonsoy soya drink have been quarantined and recalled from customers. Tests carried out on various batches of the product have shown high levels of iodine and therefore it is assumed that all batches of Bonsoy have high levels of iodine.

Nine adults and a child in New South Wales, Australia, have been diagnosed with thyroid problems and also reported drinking Bonsoy. This soya drink is enriched with a seaweed product that naturally contains iodine. Iodine is an essential element required to make thyroid hormones, but higher levels than normal may affect the way the thyroid works. However, most healthy people will not be affected by any slight excess of iodine.

There have been no reported ill effects from consumption of Bonsoy soya drink in the UK. However, people who drink a lot of this product, including toddlers fed soya drinks as an alternative to milk, could be at risk. If you are at all concerned about drinking this brand of soya drink as your main alternative to milk, then you may wish to consider an alternative brand.

The previous update, issued on 30 December 2009, can be found at the link below.