BREAKING NEWS: FDA Recalls Vega Protein Powders For Antibiotic Contamination  »


In June, 2012 I ordered some “Natural”-flavored Vega One Nutritional Shake through Amazon. I tossed it in fruit smoothies, raw chia porridge, nut milk, and used it up until it was gone about a month later. Our own Laura Beck wrote an article earlier this year about how much she digs these shake blends!

Imagine my surprise, more than one year after purchasing and consuming this protein powder, when I received a friendly little e-mail from Amazon linking to a press release from the FDA saying the Vega One Nutritional Shake Product I bought was recalled for antibiotic containing trace amounts of chloramphenicol (CAP), an antibiotic used to treat typhoid fever and eye infections! 

Though the Vega products don’t contain any CAP in the ingredients lists, apparently some jerk enzyme supplier laced them with CAP because enzyme suppliers are crazy! According to Web MD, CAP can cause aplastic anemia and hella allergic reactions in some people. Pregnant or lactating women should not take this drug! Crap you guys, I ate a tub of this! 

Here’s a little snippet from the FDA press release:

As a precautionary measure, Vega is voluntarily withdrawing all of the listed product from the market and has taken steps to ensure all future products are CAP-free, including using a different source of enzymes to prevent further potential contamination and assure consumers of product purity. These actions complete a voluntary product withdrawal and ingredient resourcing that applied to Canadian products as well.

“We’re doing this out of an overabundance of caution and to ensure that when you go to the shelf, you never have to wonder about the purity of a Vega product,” said Charles Chang, Vega President and Founder.

The Vega products were distributed nationwide in retail stores.

People who have severe sensitivity or allergies to chloramphenicol may run the risk of an allergic reaction if they consume these products.  There have been no reported allergic reactions from the listed products.

It’s great that Vega voluntarily did this recall, and their new Vega Recall website looks snazzy! But also, like, aren’t recalls supposed to be for fucking gross meat products filled with salmonella, not vegan goodness backed by superhero athlete Brendan Brazier

I ate this protein powder and I guess I got some trace amounts of CAP in my system. I feel fine, I guess? Still, kinda lame it took this long for them to figure this all out.

I certainly can forgive them, but the question is, will Vega survive this? On that FDA press release, it says you can get a refund. When I called, a lovely French-Canadian message played. I don’t speak French, so I’ll just assume they’re closed at 8p on a Tuesday! If you ordered CAP-traced products, you can call or email Vega for a full refund: 1-866-839-8863 or

Why are we just finding out about this a year later? What is your favorite protein powder made from plants? Feel free to discuss while I continue to fall down a Web MD antibiotic research rabbit hole.


Readers’ choice: protein powder!  »

An omni woman at my work has been asking me a lot of questions and seems to be eliminating animal products from her diet. Yay! The other day, she realized the whey protein she puts in her morning green shakes does, indeed, come from an animal. She asked if I could recommend a vegan option instead. First I told her that people don’t really need a crazy amount of protein, but she was not having it. So, I turned to our Twitter and Facebook friends and did a little vegan crowd-sourcing. I got so many great answers! Thanks to everyone who helped—you guys are the best! And I thought everybody might be interested in the suggestions so here’s a round-up:

Hemp protein seems to be the most popular suggestion and the popular brands seem to be Tempt and Nutiva.

One responder (sorry, I forget who! But you rule) said this about hemp powder: “Instead of your body breaking down a protein like whey or soy into amino acids to then build into protein, it provides the amino acids directly and skips the step of breaking it down. It’s the same thing with quinoa.” Interesting. Oh and a bunch of people said you can get really good deals for Nutiva on Amazon and that Tempt is available at Whole Foods. And someone else said Trader Joe’s chocolate hemp protein “is amazing.” The vegan weightlifters also recommend hemp. I think hemp is also a good environmentally conscious option but I’m just making that up.

Second most popular is Vega which I think is a combination of a bunch of different vegan proteins like hemp, brown rice, pea, etc. One person says it has iron and B12 in it too which is always nice. Another person said the vanilla flavor of Vega is too sweet. And someone said it’s the only protein powder they like that mixes well with water. And someone else specifically recommended Vega Sport—20g of protein in just half a serving. Yowza!

Third is a tie between Sun Warrior protein powder and pea protein.

Other suggestions (sorry, I’m not about to link all of these mofos, you can google them):
Brown rice protein
Amazing grasses
Whole Foods’ soy protein powder in vanilla or chocolate
Peanut flour
Nutribiotic rice protein
Amazing Meal
Plant Fusion Chocolate (“has crack in it”)
Silken tofu
Warrior Food by Healthforce

Ground quinoa
Ground raw pepitas

30/70 blend of brown rice and gemma pea protein from True Protein.
Whole Nectar organic soy protein powder

That’s a lotta’ protein! Thanks guys! Until next time.

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