Bonsoy – Medical Journal Australia paper

Thanks to the two people who sent this in to me.

I’ve uploaded the article as a pdf, downloadble here [113kb pdf].

Basically the article confirms the high levels of iodine in Bonsoy (refer table 2, page 3 of pdf) – 25,000-27,000 micrograms (ugrams/L) of iodine per litre.

Compare this to other soy milks which range from 15-30 ugrams/L. Yes, the difference is that large – nearly 1,000 times as much iodine.

Whilst a few people have pointed out the dangers of insufficient iodine, this article also makes the case for the need for testing of imported food for contaminants, in particular for iodine.

I’m actually shocked that something like Bonsoy (or anything really) could be allowed to be sold in Australia without testing, especially given our fairly strict food standards. I can’t even buy Clif Bars locally due one organic ingredient, but Bonsoy is ok? What gives?

There’s a bigger question here and it revolves around Food Standards Australia NZ, and also the 2003-2005 Vitasoy iodine case. Why was that case swept under the rug? To my mind, the whole Bonsoy debacle ought never have happened. You can’t tell me the soy milk industry in the Tasman region is so big that Spiral didn’t know about the Vitasoy case.

Anyway, at least we have some serious investigation and action on this whole schemozzle.


The Bonsoy Class Action – Thanks

I’ve received a few emails thanking me for the website and to help get the action going, or at least get it in people’s minds.

Firstly, thanks to those people for emailing me.

Secondly, thanks to everyone who shared the personal – sometimes heart-wrenching – personal stories in post/page comments, or by emailing me (some were understandably too raw to post for everyone to read).

Thanks to a particular person who wishes to remain anonymous for sending me a LOT of information about soy, and in particular the 2004-2005 NZ Vitasoy case. This to me was very important in showing a clear failure of accountability in the industry.

Thanks to Maurice Blackburn for taking this on. I’m especially thankful toward Irina, who saw the injustice in this from the start, and spent a lot of time putting information together to build a case.
I’m no bleeding heart – I understand MB is a business. But at the same time, this isn’t a big money asbestos case or something. I think Maurice Blackburn should be commended for taking this on as a social justice case.

And a thank you to Erin, the lead plaintiff. She obviously has been through a lot, so I think it shows a fair bit of courage to go through legal action on behalf of everyone else.

It will be interesting to wait and see how it all pans out, but I’m sure for many of you, it’s a huge relief to see this issue pushed into the public consciousness, and to know that someone is batting for you, and that all your tears and hard times won’t go unacknowledged.

Very lastly, I sincerely hope all of you who’ve been affected can get better, or are getting better, and can get your lives back on track.

I’ll be posting more information here as developments unfold.

Below are a few news items on this issue. I was away in NZ for a wedding when this hit last week, so was unable to curate a list for you all. I missed the media conference and a few press contacts which is disappointing. However, I’m sure we’ll see this all over the press as the case develops.


The Bonsoy Class Action – How to Join

Sorry for the delay in getting this up, I was in NZ for a wedding as the class action was launched last week.

I’ve had LOADS of emails from people asking if they can join, and how.

Maurice Blackburn have provided the below information for posting to you all. Please contact them before emailing me for information. I can’t help you join, I’ll just be able to point you in the right direction.

Once again, I’d like to re-iterate this is being undertaken by Maurice Blackburn on a no win-no fee basis, so apart from retaining Maurice Blackburn (for no fee, regardless of the outcome), there is no obligation on you whatsoever.


Bonsoy Class Action
Maurice Blackburn is conducting the Bonsoy Class Action in the Supreme Court of Victoria seeking compensation for people from around Australia who have suffered an injury from consuming Bonsoy milk.

The proposed claim

Bonsoy soy milk is distributed throughout Australia by Spiral Foods Pty Ltd. Prior to December 2009, Bonsoy was sold widely in most supermarkets as well as health food shops and cafes.

At that time Bonsoy was enriched with a kombu extract which is a type of seaweed and very rich in iodine. Iodine is necessary for thyroid function, but is only required in very small amounts. Excess amounts of iodine can affect the thyroid and cause illness which may be severe.

The recall

In late December 2009, Spiral Products Pty Ltd voluntarily withdrew Bonsoy from the Australian market when it was discovered that it contained extremely high levels of iodine which could lead to serious health problems. The level of iodine in one glass of Bonsoy was found to be around 7 times the safe upper limit for adults. Drinking 30mg of Bonsoy a day for adults, or 5mg for a child, resulted in consumption of unsafe levels of iodine.

The recall occurred after people suffered serious health problems caused by Bonsoy consumption including hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. These conditions of the thyroid can result in the following symptoms:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations and in severe cases heart attacks
  • Sudden and severe weight loss or weight gain
  • Loss of muscle tone and function
  • Pain in the muscles
  • Swelling of limbs
  • Anxiety
  • Depression and mental disturbance
  • Hair loss
  • Menstrual irregularities in women
  • Miscarriage
  • Intolerance to cold or heat
  • Skin rashes and peeling
  • Eye conditions including permanent eyesight damage
  • Obviously enlarged thyroid gland

These symptoms may have a gradual or sudden onset and continue for months or years while excess iodine is consumed.

Who is affected by the Class Action?

If successful, the Bonsoy class action will benefit people who suffered thyroid conditions and injury due to the consumption of Bonsoy milk from at least 2003 up to the end of 2009.

Where can I obtain further information?

Maurice Blackburn is conducting the Bonsoy Class Action on a “no win – no charge” basis. This means that if you retain Maurice Blackburn you will not need to pay any legal costs or disbursements unless we recover compensation for you.

If you are interested in knowing more about the Bonsoy Class Action or if you wish to consider retaining Maurice Blackburn to protect your rights, please telephone us on 03 9605 2865 or email bonsoy – at You can also visit the Maurice Blackburn Bonsoy Class Action page.