FSANZ has investigated levels of iodine in beverages enriched with seaweed following an increased number of reported human thyroid dysfunction cases resulting from high iodine intake. Investigation into the cause of thyroid dysfunction showed a link to the consumption of Bonsoy soy beverage, which was found to contain high iodine levels resulting from the addition of seaweed (kombu, Laminaria spp ) during the manufacturing process. On 24 December 2009, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) coordinated a national food recall and issued a media release advising people not to consume Bonsoy soy beverage with all best before dates. This product was also recalled in the UK, Ireland, Singapore and Hong Kong.
FSANZ, in consultation with Australian States and Territories, conducted a survey to investigate iodine levels in other beverages enriched with seaweed available for sale in Australia. The results of this survey reassure consumers that iodine levels in the beverages surveyed are well within the safety limits. The full report on the ‘Survey of iodine in beverages enriched with seaweed’ is available on the FSANZ website HERE
Bonsoy soy beverage, reformulated without kombu seaweed extract, has returned to sale after follow up testing confirmed iodine levels are within the safety margin and the product is considered safe to consume. For further information, please refer to the factsheet on the FSANZ website (available at: http://new-admin-www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/safety/recalls/bonsoy/pages/default.aspx).
FSANZ conducted a follow up analytical survey investigating other seaweed containing products. The outcomes of this survey are published.