A Los Angeles company is scrambling to figure out why one of its flagship products -- a snack bar packed with protein and nutrients -- is reportedly making dozens of customers sick.
Rosa Labs' Soylent Bars, which the company says can provide 12.5 percent of a person's daily nutrients, have only been on sale for about three months, but customers on the company's own website and on Reddit have been sharing stories about how they've become "violently ill" after eating the bars.
One man told Gizmodo he went to an emergency room after eating one of the bars. It was the second time he'd gotten sick from Soylent, he told the blog -- on Oct. 3, he ate a bar around noon and “got violently ill around 3:30 p.m. during a meeting at work."
After five or six bouts of vomiting "in less than an hour," his vision began to blur, he said, and his wife took him to an urgent care center, which then referred him to an emergency room.
Dozens of others have reported similar stories, prompting Rosa Labs to take action.
The company said it recalled the offending bars from customers and offered them refunds or replacements.
“After these reports, we have retrieved remaining bars from our consumers and have personally consumed many of the remaining bars without adverse effects," Rosa Labs wrote in a statement. "We have also sent them for further microbiological testing and all tests have come back negative. Based on this we remain very confident in the safety of the bars.”
Citing a source "with knowledge of Soylent's production," tech blog Ars Technica said the company has spent tens of thousands of dollars on testing and had analyzed the individual ingredients to rule out contaminants.
The company said it suspects some people who experienced nausea could be intolerant of soy, while others speculate some of the reactions can be attributed to allergies or food intolerances.
Finally, one Reddit user suggested another possible culprit: hypochondria. So far the reports are anecdotal and come from a handful of people online. There's been no evidence of contamination, leaving open the possibility that the stomach problems could be caused by something other than the Soylent bars.