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POPCORN BRANDS BAN DIACETYLThis article comes courtesty of Food Production Daily
and begs the question of why do manufacturers find it necessary to put
these chemicals into our foods in the first place? Why have artificial
flavours when there are natural ones? What's wrong with using butter?
The human body is designed to process food, not chemicals! No wonder
cancer rates are rising, as our bodies cannot break down these
chemicals. As a point of interest, was it only when consumers started to
show problems that the chemical was withdrawn? This does not place
workers in the same category of esteem, does it!
Let's call a moratorium on chemists tampering with our foods, poisoning
our bodies, all in the name of profit!
Lobby your MPs and ask them to stand up the the bullying of vested commercial interest.
Two of the largest US popcorn makers have removed diacetyl from their
brands, as doctors report that the chemical may now cause a fatal lung
disease in consumers as well as factory workers.
Both Pop Weaver and ConAgra this week announced that they will
remove diacetyl from popcorn flavoring, following reports linking it with
bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS), an incurable disease that
causes thickening and scarring of the lungs.
Reports of diacetyl's harmful effects are growing almost by the hour,
and more and more BOS sufferers are surfacing, presenting companies
with a possible legal nightmare that could cost them millions of dollars in
Cathy Yingling, Pop Weaver's spokesperson, told
FoodProductionDaily-USA.com that plant workers had not shown any
symptoms of BOS, but that the company had removed the chemical from
its butter flavoring as a preventative measure.
"We made the decision to remove diacetyl from our products because
we recognized that it was a growing concern," she said.
From now on the company will use another formulation for popcorn
flavoring, "that maintains the buttery flavor," Yingling explained, although
she would not specify the exact formulation.
ConAgra Foods similarly announced that it will reformulate the recipes
for its Orville Redenbacher and Act II popcorn brands, over concerns for
"We don't know how soon we will be able to replace diacetyl with a
different butter flavoring, but the change will be made sometime over the
next year," said spokesperson Stephanie Childs.
More and more companies are now being spurred into action, especially
after one report has linked popcorn and BOS outside of a factory
A US doctor reported Tuesday that a BOS case has now been found in
a consumer who developed the disease after microwaving popcorn
several times a day for years.
Dr Cecile Rose, a pulmonary specialist at Denver's National Jewish
Medical and Research Center, wrote to federal agencies warning that
the case may prove that diacetyl is dangerous to health even when it is
not used in industrial quantities.
In response, the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA)
issued a statement yesterday recommending that its members reduce the
amount of diacetyl used in product formulation.
"This new information suggests a possible association between inhaling
the fumes from the preparation of several bags of heavily butter-flavored
microwave popcorn each day when the butter flavor contains diacetyl
and the development of the patient's severe respiratory illness," the
According to the Associated Press, the US Environmental Protection
Agency will soon publish the first government study looking at what
fumes are produced by microwaving popcorn at home.
Industry fears were initially raised after researcher from the Netherlands
linked the industrial use of Diacetyl, often used in flavorings for snacks,
sweets and frozen foods, with the debilitating lung disease.
The team, from the Universiteit Utrecht's department of environmental
epidemiology examined a population of workers at an unnamed chemical
plant that produced diacetyl, and found a cluster of previously
undiagnosed BOS cases
They then traced 196 former workers who were still living and who had
been employed at the diacetyl production plant between 1960 and 2003,
when the plant closed.
They identified 175 who consented to complete exposure and
respiratory health questionnaires and undergo lung function tests and
clinical assessments. Of the 102 process workers considered to be at
the highest risk for exposure, researchers positively identified three
cases of BOS, and later, a fourth, in a worker who had initially declined
to participate in the research.
"This is the first study where cases of BOS were found in a chemical
plant producing diacetyl," wrote Fritz van Rooy, who led the team
While the researchers said they were unable to rule out contributions of
other chemicals to the development of BOS, the study significantly
narrows the field of suspects to diacetyl and the components and
byproducts of its manufacturing process.
Once inhaled, BOS leads to inflammation and obstruction of the lungs
through rapid thickening or scarring of the small airways. The disease is
irreversible, progressive and can cause death, with the only possible
treatment available being a lung transplant.
California is now considering a bill to forbid the use of diacetyl in the
state's food industry by 2010, while Connecticut senator Rosa Delauro
has asked the Food and Drug Administration to ban the chemical across
the US until its effects can be properly examined.
The chemical is approved for use in the EU. The European Food Safety
Authority is currently evaluating diacetyl, a spokesperson said.
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