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Court approves $25 million settlement plan for soy milk victims

Lead plantiff Erin Downie speaks at a press conference after reaching a settlement with Bonsoy in a class action. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Lead plantiff Erin Downie speaks at a press conference after reaching a settlement with Bonsoy in a class action. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

The Victorian Supreme Court has approved the $25 million settlement secured for consumers that became ill after drinking Bonsoy soy milk.

The case, started by class action law firm Maurice Blackburn in 2010, will ensure that around 500 people joined together in the class action will share in what is the biggest payout for a food safety case in Australian legal history.

The Bonsoy case centred on allegations that unsafe levels of iodine were added to the ingredients of the soy milk product via a seaweed product called Kombu, with nearly 500 people claiming they suffered dramatic and damaging health consequences as a result.

Jacob Varghese, class action principal running the case, said the Court has approved all aspects of the proposed settlement as fair, including the procedure for the hundreds of individual claims to now be thoroughly yet efficiently processed.

‘Our group members today have peace of mind that they will be compensated for their pain and losses, and we’re very proud to have delivered this result for them,’ Mr Varghese said.

‘This case was a long, tough but important fight that proves how hard these class actions are to run and win.

‘It also importantly highlights how important it is for people to have access to a mechanism such as the class actions regime, that can help remedy a mass wrong, and in the process, place a check on corporate conduct.’

Lead plaintiff Erin Downie became ill shortly after giving birth to her daughter in 2008. She started drinking more Bonsoy in the belief its health benefits would help with breastfeeding. She was rushed to hospital by ambulance, suffered heart palpitations and unconsciousness.

‘I’ve been through a lot due to drinking Bonsoy, and so have hundreds of others all over Australia. Today means a lot because we now have a Court approved result that indicates we were right to stand up to the companies involved,’ she said.


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