Bonsoy has been reformulated to no longer include the seaweed extract that caused the problem – sold in Australia up to late last year – to contain potentially harmful levels of iodine.
Food authorities pulled the popular soy milk from shelves nationwide on December 24 after a NSW-based cluster of nine adults and a child sought treatment for thyroid problems.
A national reporting system also was set up and a further 38 Bonsoy drinkers have come forward, some of whom may require surgery to have their thyroid glands removed.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) on Wednesday said Bonsoy’s maker had recently submitted a reformulated version of its soy milk, and tests showed it had safe levels of iodine.
“Food and Health authorities today confirmed that Bonsoy soy milk, reformulated without kombu seaweed extract, could return to sale,” according to a FSANZ statement.
“Anyone with one litre tetra packs of the original Bonsoy soy milk with kombu … should not consume them and should safely dispose of them or return same to place of purchase.
“Anyone who has consumed the earlier batches of Bonsoy with kombu over a prolonged time, who feels generally unwell, should consult their doctor.”
The reformulated product was now being redistributed to cafes in NSW and Victoria, and a rebranded product should soon return to store shelves.
Bonsoy’s problem stemmed from the naturally fluctuating mineral levels of the seaweed extract, which led to “excessively high” levels of iodine in the soy milk as sold late last year.
Tests at that time showed a Bonsoy drinker could harmfully overload their thyroid gland with a daily intake of about two tablespoons.
“The levels of iodine in the Bonsoy soy milk were at a level that is likely to exceed the safe limit for iodine when as little as 30ml (one eighth of a cup) is consumed per day by an adult,” FSANZ said.
“Bonsoy milk with added kombu was found to be the only product with excessively high levels of iodine (and) this product was also recalled in the UK, Ireland, Singapore and Hong Kong.”
Those Australians with ongoing adverse health impacts from drinking the original Bonsoy are understood to be pushing for a class action.
Bonsoy’s maker Spiral Foods Pty Ltd said its reformulated product now met food safety standards and “we’ve been inundated by loyal Bonsoy drinkers who have been asking when Bonsoy will be back”.
“For more than 30 years Spiral Foods has been committed to providing healthy, natural food products,” Spiral Foods Director James Wilson said in a statement on Wednesday.
“… and we have worked with the producers of Bonsoy to reformulate the product and return it to cafes and stores as soon as possible.”