In a major blow to Canadians who love bland on-the-go meal replacement goop, The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has blocked all shipments of Soylent into the country.
Soylent first began shipping to Canada in July 2015, announcing the move with a video of people reading fanatical complaints from Canucks requesting Soylent, with “O Canada” playing in the background. It seems Canada’s food regulatory agency is not as enthusiastic about having the quasi-nutritious substance shipped into the Great White North.
According to a statement from Rob Rhinehart, the CEO of Rosa Foods and the former software engineer who created Soylent, CFIA told the company in early October that their “products do not meet a select few of the CFIA requirements for a ‘meal replacement.’”
Since Rhinehart introduced Soylent in 2013 he has marketed it as a food replacement drink. The product appealed to programmers and others who couldn’t be bothered to peel their fingers away from a keyboard long enough to consume real food. The company originally claimed that Soylent provided all nutritional requirements for a human. But several scientists and journalists challenged that claim and the site now states the 400-calorie drink provides 20 percent of daily nutritional requirements.
Rosa Foods is complying with the CFIA regulations even though Rhinehart and his team “feel strongly that these requirements do not reflect the current understanding of human nutritional needs.”
CFIA said they could not provide a statement to Gizmodo by press time, but we will update this post if they do comment on the matter.
In a FAQ about the issue, the company assured potentially concerned Canadian Soylent drinkers, “There is nothing wrong with the Soylent product you are consuming, this issue emerged from regulatory compliance, not product quality.”
So don’t worry, the gunk you consume because you don’t want to actually eat is totally fine.
Update 9:00am 10/25: CFIA sent Gizmodo the following statement:
All products sold in Canada must comply with the applicable acts and regulations. Products marketed as a meal replacement must comply with the existing standard in the Food and Drug Regulations. As part of routine import inspection activities, the CFIA identified that certain Soylent products were not in compliance with the Food and Drug Regulations with regard to meal replacements.
Any additional imports will be required to be in compliance with the current applicable regulations. However, the remaining product on store shelves does not have to be recalled as the CFIA has not identified any immediate health risk for consumers...
Business decisions on the marketing of products are up to the manufacturer. The CFIA is willing to discuss options for compliant marketing and sales with the company.
As noted in the statement from the company, the CFIA contacted the company in early October.