mardi 13 juillet 2010

Compound in Kellogg cereal packaging identified: hydrocarbon

When Kellogg Co. pulled about 28 million cereal boxes from store shelves last month, the company said only that an "off-flavor and smell" coming from the packaging could cause nausea and diarrhea. But the culprit behind the recall is a class of chemicals now making news in the Gulf of Mexico: hydrocarbons, a byproduct of oil.

“Kellogg Company has concluded its investigation into the off smells present in the package liners in some of its cereals,” said company spokeswoman Adaire Putnam. “Working with external experts in medicine, toxicology, public health, chemistry and food safety, we identified elevated levels of hydrocarbons, including methyl naphthalene, normally found in the paraffin wax and film in the liners.”

This specific wax is commonly used as a protective coating for foods including cheese, raw fruits and vegetables, and are approved by the FDA, she said.

However, the company did not supply information relating to the exact levels of the chemical that were responsible for sickening a number of consumers – only saying they were not present in harmful levels.

“We have verified that the elevated levels of hydrocarbons are not present at harmful levels,” added Putnam. “We are working with our supplier to ensure that this situation does not happen again.”

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