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Kellog's Cereal Recall: Petroleum Based Compound in Packaging

07.13.10 Kellog's Cereal Recall: Petroleum Based Compound in Packaging

In the yikes! department, I heard of the massive cereal recall two weeks ago.  Kellogg's recalled 28 million boxes of Corn Pops, Honey Smacks, Froot Loops and Apple Jacks after customers complained of what the cereal maker called an "off-taste and smell" that caused "nausea and diarrhea" in some people.

Well, to add to that, the Environmental Working Group has just shared that the substance is "a petroleum based compound that appears to be a breakdown product of chemicals used in the cereal box liners."  

The Environmental Working Group reports that the compound is called methylnaphthalene, and there are lots of questions about its safety.  The FDA and industry groups have been studying this chemical to determine if it is safe.  

And we know that those industry funded studies have in many cases been far from accurate.  Take BPA, phthalates, and flame retardants, as examples.  And we also know that the FDA is massively understaffed and underfunded.  

Will this be the next BPA? 

Of course, Kellog's fell back on the fact that the packaging has been approved by the FDA, which is something most companies seem to do in times like this.  But we should be concerned.  Again, according to the EWG, the chemical is known to be commonly detected in air pollutants from cigarette smoke, diesel and gasoline engine exhaust, wood smoke, tar and asphalt, and it causes lung cancer in animal studies.  

Not something I want in my family's food.  

I share the EWG's recommendations for companies to clearly label what is in their food products AND the packaging, for the FDA to strengthen its regulation of food packaging, and for all parties to openly and publicly share what they know about this chemical's risks to people.

We eat a LOT of cereal.  I try to make my own, but sometimes don't.  I really don't want to have to worry about the bag!  


image by DePrefundis on Flickr

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