Quality control for soylent?


Hi all, longtime lurker, first time poster, wondering about controls against possible contamination.

One of the biggest worries I hear from those unfamiliar is the quality of sourcing. While I have every confidence that Rob and crew have done their homework, things like the melamine scare in baby formula from China has raised single-source worries.

Is there anything I can point folks to as to keep their fears to a minimum?


I share the same concern, China isn’t known for good food quality control and if that’s where it’s sourced, I’m not excited about that. I would pay extra to have it produced in the USA or another country with good food track record.


Glad to hear it, NoFlames. Perhaps @JulioMiles or @rob will have input, in due time. Short-term, I’d still love to have that first batch. (And am eagerly awaiting.)


Actually regardless of where it is sourced, so long as they did lab testing of every single batch that was shipped to them that would give me confidence, even if it came from China.


From the 3-31-14 update

“We just got news today that the expedited initial shipment of rice
protein cleared customs at LAX late last week, and is currently on its
way to the production facility on Colorado. Once the protein arrives, it
will subject to a number of quality control assessments, a process that
takes about 5 business days. Assuming that it passes these tests, we
will be on track to begin shipping the first orders of Soylent around
April 17th.”

I can assume they will be doing the same thing for every batch.


Exactly. I am not tremendously worried as I plan to use Soylent as a replacement for breakfast and lunch only, but cadmium is definitely not a preferred midday snack.


I don’t assume they will test every batch, I would prefer a positive confirmation. Keep in mind this was the first time that rice protein was ever made, it was a custom process as I understand to make a finer powder, so they were testing to see if it met their requirements. I want to know that they test every batch from a chemical makeup and texture standpoint. I hope they do, but it wouldn’t hurt to reinforce that message if they do the testing.


Thanks, @Neebs57 ! Not a guarantee, but in the ballpark of what I need.


Is that really the case? I was under the impression it was the first time such a large order had ever been delivered, not that it was the first time period. Can anyone confirm or otherwise shed light on this?


That’s how I interpreted a blog post I read, I do think it was more in line with what you are saying though. I generally thought of a this being a largest batch would indicate it was a fairly new process/product on the market. I seem to recall that the first batch they got wasns’t good enough either, so the process had to be refined. I guess I need to go back and search those blog posts :slight_smile:


Yeah you could very well be right. If you find a specific mention in this regard, I’d love to hear about it just for completeness’ sake.


Found this in this blog post http://blog.soylent.me/post/79480695066/soylent-update-3-13

There’s a bit more detail around that same paragraph, and it definitely looks like this is a brand new product.


Aha! Excellent, I remember that paragraph now that you’ve mentioned it. So yes it does look like this is totally new. In that case certainly knowing a bit more about the quality controls in place, wouldn’t be bad at all.


Going to the RFI website, the capabilities for extensive QC work are in place: http://www.rfiingredients.com/technical_capabilities.asp

Looks like they can do not only contaminants testing on the incoming materials, but if they have a micro lab, I assume that means they do endotoxin testing as well. Considering that the Soylent Team has explicitly mentioned QC work as part of the timeline, I have been assuming RFI is providing some level of QC support. RFI would need to be conducting at least a minimum of contaminants testing so they have supporting info on their batch records when FDA comes calling.


@Flagg707 I would love to know which testing is performed on the Soylent ingredients. I like to know I’m eating something that is safe and not accidentally unsafe due to lack of testing for things like the wrong chemical composition and contaminations.


I dug back through the archives of the blog and here is what was posted on 25 October 2013 (http://blog.soylent.me/post/65063846024/today-we-are-pleased-to-announce-that-we-have):

RFI has provided the following tentative timeline for production:

6-8 weeks for procuring raw ingredients. Our vegan vitamin and
mineral blend has the longest lead time and will be subject to the most
rigorous of testing for heavy metals and impurities. The FDA has given
particular consideration to vitamin and mineral claims and requires the
greatest amount of testing to ensure all claims regarding levels and
concentrations are valid.

2-3 weeks for identity and microbial testing of each ingredient.
Ingredients will be tested as they arrive to reduce the total lead time.
One of the main reasons why we chose RFI is because they are at the top
of the industry when it comes to testing and quality assurance; often
times running valuable tests for impurities and potential health hazards
that aren’t required by any state or federal laws. We will post every
test result on our website so you know that Soylent is pure and safe.

3-4 weeks for blending, quality assurance testing and packaging of
225,000 days of Soylent. Approximately 70,000 days of Soylent will be
produced, tested and shipped weekly. As soon as the first week of
production finishes and proper quality assurance tests are run, we will
be able to start the first shipment of Soylent.

According to RFI, subsequent orders will take a total of 10-12 weeks
to source, test and manufacture. The main reason for the reduction in
future order lead times is due to the fact that RFI runs additional
tests on new ingredients (the vitamin/mineral blend) that take an extra
1-2 weeks. Presumably, future orders will not have the new ingredient
testing requirements.

That last part about not retesting the ingredients going forward is probably a little optimistic at least for the first rounds of reordering as vendor quals that FDA finds acceptable generally requires you to test several batches and then move to occasional spot checks. That said, the tests being outlined above far exceed the crap going into my body at the moment. Assuming they have stuck to the above plan, it looks like a very rigorous testing program.


I understand they don’t need to run the same full battery of tests on every shipment as when they were in development, however they should do testing on some number of samples of every large batch of ingredients they get since one mistake could make people sick. Since this is open source project, this is another way Soylent can differentiate themselves as being the flagship product with highest quality standards.

I just want to see what they do on every batch on a continuous basis, not what they do on the first batch.


cadmium-bury eggs… yum…


Good catch, flagg. The RFI info there and on the site gives me what I need to know.


I guess I am confused. From the programs I’ve helped set up (more on the drug side not food side) the requirement to do QC on each lot/batch is pretty much set in stone. So I read the above meaning they will do the QC on the end product along with endotoxin testing representative batches from that lot - every time. That at least is what I would regard as standard. The routine testing of incoming material each and every time would continue for several of the early purchasing rounds if I was running the program, then assuming a 100% pass rate I’d switch over to intermittent testing. That is generally a recognized path to success for this kind of thing.

@JulioMiles, am I off base here? Any synopsis of the testing regime you can provide to us?