by EMMA YOUNGER
Hundreds of Australians allegedly poisoned by toxic soy milk are set to share in a $25 million settlement, in what is believed to be the country’s biggest ever payout concerning food safety.
About 500 people alleged they suffered health problems caused by dangerously high iodine levels contained in Bonsoy between 2004 and 2009.
It was alleged Bonsoy was reformulated in August 2003 and pure kombu (seaweed) was replaced with kombu powder, which had the effect of increasing the level of iodine. It was alleged one glass of milk contained 50 times the recommended daily intake of iodine.
Maurice Blackburn principal Jacob Varghese said it caused problems with the thyroid gland which regulates hormones that control metabolism.
“Ranging from lethargy and anxiety from one end of the scale, to very severe episodes that would involve hospitalisation,” he said. “In some cases people had to have their thyroids removed. In a couple of cases women say that they had miscarriages as a result of the excessive iodine.”
“I’ve been unable to have more children, which has been heartbreaking for me … my health isn’t adequate to be able to carry a baby.”
Erin Downie from the Dandenong Ranges is lactose-intolerant, and said she increased her intake of Bonsoy while breastfeeding her daughter Mirakye because she was told it would be good for her.
“My hair started to fall out, my gums began to bleed, and I lost all the use of my muscles in my body very quickly and I could no longer lift my baby after about four weeks, so I knew something was wrong.” Ms Downie said.