HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Popcorn to be Safer in New Year

According to the Associated Press, popcorn manufacturers are removing the chemical diacetyl, which has been linked to cases of bronchiolitis obliterans, a rare life-threatening disease also known as popcorn lung.
The AP reports,

The nation's four biggest makers of microwave popcorn have removed a flavoring chemical linked to a lung ailment in popcorn plant workers from nearly all their products. The companies say all their microwave popcorn recipes should be changed by January. But it might take several months for the reformulated popcorn to replace all the older varieties on store shelves.

In August, the Weaver Popcorn Co. of Indianapolis said it had removed the butter flavor diacetyl from all its microwave popcorn varieties. ConAgra Foods Inc. of Omaha; General Mills Inc. of Golden Valley, Minn.; and the American Pop Corn Co. of Sioux City, Iowa, all promised in September to change their microwave popcorn recipes. Those three companies sell Orville Redenbacher, Act II, Pop Secret, and Jolly Time microwave popcorn.

"We want to assure our consumers they can continue to enjoy their favorite popcorn with complete confidence," said ConAgra's Stan Jacot, who oversees popcorn marketing for the company.  The chemical diacetyl has been linked to cases of bronchiolitis obliterans, a rare life-threatening disease often called popcorn lung.  Diacetyl occurs naturally in foods such as butter, cheese, and fruits, and the FDA has approved its use as a flavor ingredient.

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