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Iodine-Laced Soymilk Recall Spans Globe

Unusually high iodine levels in Bonsoy Soy Milk are now being confirmed by other national food safety agencies, expanding a recall that originated in Australia and New Zealand around the world.

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) of Singapore said high levels of iodine in soymilk are linked to cases of Thyrotoxicosis.  “Kombu,” a seaweed with naturally high levels of iodine, is used to enrich Bonsoy soymilk.

“Soy milk is not known to be a source of iodine, hence consumers of soy milk would not associate this type of product with high iodine levels,” said the AVA statement.

AVA said it conducted tests on the Bonsoy soymilk and confirmed the high iodine levels that were found prior to Christmas by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

“AVA has therefore required the importer and retailers to recall the implicated product from the market,” the Singapore food safety agency said.

Specifically recalled is Bonsoy Soy Milk in a 1 Liter package, made in Japan, with a “best before” date of 03 November 2011.

About 7,000 air miles away, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) issued a similar alert over the Japanese made soy milk that has now sickened ten people in Australia.

Irish tests have found drinking one cup of the soymilk could exceed the tolerable daily intake for iodine by more than 34 times for children and seven times for adults.

Excessive consumption of iodine at high levels may affect the thyroid gland and cause thyroid disorders.  People who have consumed the product and do not feel well were advised to seek medical attention immediately.  Pregnant women were advised to tell their obstetrician “so that appropriate tests can be conducted for their babies at birth.”

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) joined the recall last week, and is investigating Bonsoy distribution in the UK and working with the FSIA.

Health officials said most healthy people could occasionally consume high iodine levels without doing themselves any harm.

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