Soylent – the brainchild of entrepreneur Rob Rhinehart and a favorite among the tech community in San Francisco - had temporarily halted shipments after a handful of customers alerted the company to the problem.
A probe at the manufacturing facility (run by Rosa Labs) revealed that guardrail settings on the conveyor were not optimized, causing some bottles to move erratically, resulting in small splashes on the external surface of the bottle, said the firm.
We have been made aware of 11 isolated incidents of mold growth
In a blog post explaining what had happened, the firm sought to reassure consumers that the formulation was robust and the problem had been dealt with immediately at the facility, which adhered to federally-regulated current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP):
“Out of the more than 400,000 bottles shipped thus far, we have been made aware of 11 isolated incidents of mold growth on the external part of the bottle, which is well within the industry standard rate of one in 10,000 defects in low acid aseptic packaging. Using the utmost caution, we immediately halted shipments until we could conduct a thorough investigation of the reports.
“Our investigation involved an exhaustive review of manufacturing records and comprehensive product inspections at our distribution center. Our records indicate that all manufacturing procedures were in place and followed properly. Additionally, all microbiological records for in-process and finished product were satisfactory."
The conveyor guardrail settings were not optimized
It added: “During our record review process we did, however, discover that the conveyor guardrail settings were not optimized, causing some bottles to move erratically on the conveyor, which resulted in small splashes on the external surface of the bottle, thereby allowing mold from the environment to grow on the bottle. To verify that these findings were indeed isolated, we conducted physical and visual inspections, along with microbial tests, of 2,000 bottles in our distribution center and found only two bottles with the same defect. We have since optimized the line settings to minimize any recurrence of this issue.
“Given that all manufacturing records and product sterility tests during manufacturing were satisfactory, and with verification that the findings were truly isolated, we are confident in the safety of our product and have decided to resume shipments of Soylent 2.0 as soon as our logistics team and distribution partner are online again. Our conservative estimate for shipping commencement is Thursday, October 8, 2015.”