Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has advised people not to consume Bonsoy soymilk. 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 recently developed thyroid problems. These individuals all reported consuming Bonsoy soymilk. Subsequent testing of samples of Bonsoy soymilk revealed unusually high levels of iodine. This brand of soymilk is enriched with “Kombu” which is a seaweed product.

The importer voluntarily instigated a consumer-level recall for the Bonsoy soymilk on Dec. 24.

The levels of iodine in the Bonsoy soymilk 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 900 micrograms for 14-year-olds.

Daily consumption of a cup of Bonsoy soymilk 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 soymilk product over a prolonged time that feels generally unwell should consult his or her doctor.

The body excretes iodine, so when a source of high iodine ceases, levels in the body will decrease over time.

The only soymilk product in Australia and New Zealand identified through testing to have high levels of iodine to date is Bonsoy soymilk.