FDA Press officer comment


Just saw this article:

Normal fare in terms of content until the end where they have this:

According to Arthur Whitmore, a press officer with the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Soylent would fall into the category of what the FDA considers food. Unlike a medication, Soylent will not require FDA approval, unless it contains some new type of food additive, which Rhinehart would need to disclose.

It’s important to Rhinehart that Soylent be considered a food, as opposed to a medicine or supplement, so that food-stamp recipients can buy it using EBT cards.

I don’t think we’ve heard anything from the Soylent team about it being purchable through EBT cards, if so it would be a huge win for them. Unfortunately they don’t actually source the comment, so it is either a comment they got directly from Arthur or some unlisted source.

Has @rob or @JulioMiles mentioned anything about this so far?


There has been a certain degree of talk about the EBT cards. As stated, Rob and the team have expressed the desire to make it available through food stamps and the like, the biggest hurdles are the different rules in every state. Such as in California, apparently you cannot buy “hot served” food, which doesn’t apply to Soylent, but other laws such as restrictions on “dietary supplements” would. There has also been talk that EBT cards are hard to accept online, and so that might be something that has to wait until Soylent is available in “brick and mortar” stores.


There’s the food stamp discussion. Rob chimed in on it.
I don’t think you can buy hot food anywhere on stamps. It’s really stupid. The supplement thing, I think, will definitely be more of an issue.


It’s not more a supplement than breakfast cereal, which is usually just sugar and wheat/oats/rice sprayed with vitamins.


True, but getting the FDA to classify it as “food” versus a “supplement” is a huge step.


At this juncture it looks certain that Soylent will be a food, not a supplement. We’re talking to a FDA/USDA regulation expert and it sounds like it will be a smooth process so long as we are cognizant of a few simple things (mostly relating to the effects we can/cannot claim Soylent has).


Will this affect the trademark process? IIRC Rob filed the trademark for Soylent under Pharmaceutical Products, which it may no longer fall under.


Although Rob originally introduced Soylent with the blog post “How I Stopped Eating Food” I think it would in retrospect be more accurate to title it “How I Stopped Eating Anything BUT Food.”