A class action lawsuit involving Bonsoy has been settled

A class action lawsuit involving Bonsoy has been settled

An A$25m (US$21.2m) settlement has been reached in the class action suit against the manufacturer, exporter and distributor of Bonsoy soy milk.

The class action, filed in 2010 against Spiral Foods, Muso and Marusan, saw almost 500 people join after concerns were raised they may have suffered health implications resulting from dangerous levels of iodine in the product from a seaweed called kombu.

Some people stated they suffered from loss of muscle function, heart palpitations and other "life altering" health problems.

Jacob Varghese, class action principal, at law firm Maurice Blackburn, said: "We believe this is the highest settlement of a food safety class action in Australia's history, and it reinforces how important it is for people to have access to a mechanism that can help remedy a mass wrong, and in the process, place a check on corporate conduct.

Under the settlement, the defendant companies will pay A$25m into a fund to be distributed to participants in the class action. Before that the settlement must be approved by the Supreme Court of Victoria. A hearing on approval of the settlement will occur on 29 January. The defendants have not admitted liability.

Marusan, the distributor of Bonsoy, told just-food it was "pleased that the proceedings have been resolved in principle between the parties [through] litigation without the need to resort to further litigation."

It added that it could not disclose further details of the settlement it was subject to confidentiality.

In a statement to just-food, Bonsoy manufacturer Spiral Foods said: "Spiral Foods is pleased to confirm that a mutual settlement has been reached with the plaintiffs in a case with regards to the levels of naturally sourced iodine, via an ingredient called kombu - which was used in Bonsoy during 2004-2009.

"In line with its 30 year commitment to providing high quality, organic food products for our customers, in late 2009, Spiral Foods took the precaution of voluntary recalling its soy milk product Bonsoy. Bonsoy was reformulated after strenuous efforts to ensure the soy milk retained its creamy flavour while excluding Kombu as an ingredient.

"In keeping with Spiral Foods' commitment to quality, Bonsoy does not include any additives, oils or flavour enhancers and remains available for sale under the new reformulation on supermarket shelves, in health shops and cafés across Australia."

Muso did not respond to request for comment.