Remember in June when Kellogg recalled 28 million boxes of some of children’s favorite breakfast cereals–Froot Loops, Apple Jacks, Corn Pops, and Honey Smacks? Well, the story took a nasty turn. We may now know what caused the strange taste, odor, and gastrointestinal symptoms…and there may be a cover-up involved.
Federal regulators, who are charged with ensuring the safety of food and consumer products, are in the dark about the suspected chemical, 2-methylnaphthalene. The Food and Drug Administration [FDA] has no scientific data on its impact on human health. The Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] also lacks basic health and safety data for 2-methylnaphthalene — even though the EPA has been seeking that information from the chemical industry for 16 years. (Washington Post 8/2/2010; italics added by blogger)
Apparently, Kellogg destroyed all contaminated cereal boxes before the recall. And significant information seems to be withheld by Kellogg to such an extent that the House Energy and Commerce Committee asked The Kellogg Company to turn over documents regarding the recall and the company’s safety procedures. The letter, made public on House of Representatives website, requests documents related to what Kellogg is doing to make sure that all chemical products don’t cause health problems (and which chemicals it doesn’t have safety information about), any documents related to the health risks of 2-methylnaphthalene, and all documents related to Kellogg’s investigation and recall. The company has until August 16 to respond.
“It is really troubling that you’ve got this form of naphthalene that’s produced in millions of pounds a year and we don’t have some of the basic information about how toxic it is,” said Erik Olson, an expert at the Pew Charitable Trusts, which is advocating an overhaul of U.S. chemical laws. “In so many cases, government agencies are missing data they need on even widely used chemicals about whether they pose a health risk.” [from Washington Post article]
One reason why so little may be known about the human health effects of this chemical is because at least one government agency felt that there was virtually no way a person could come into contact with it. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry concluded its report by saying that “You are not likely to be exposed . . . eating foods or drinking beverages” and risk exposure only “if you live near a hazardous waste site.” Yikes! Does that mean that Kellogg has turned kitchens across America into hazardous waste sites?
If you have any of the recalled products, it seems prudent at this time to put the box aside for safe keeping–it may be needed for testing in the future (since Kellogg destroyed the rest of the tainted boxes). Do not eat anymore of the product! If you have been made sick, contact your physician immediately. And if you have legal questions about what to do if you have been made sick by these products, feel free to contact the toxic substance lawyers at HensonFuerst. If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.
Only products with the letters “KN” following the Better If Used Before Date are included in the recall. Only packages in the white, paper-backed foil liner are affected by the off-taste and smell.
Kellogg’s® Apple Jacks®
- UPC 3800039136. 17-ounce package with Better if Used Before Dates between APR 10 2011 and JUN 22 2011
- UPC 3800039132. 8.7-ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between JUN 03 2011 and JUN 22 2011
Kellogg’s® Corn Pops®
- UPC 3800039109. 12.5-ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011
- UPC 3800039111. 17.2-ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011
- UPC 3800039116. 9.2-ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between APR 05 2011 and JUN 22 2011
Kellogg’s® Froot Loops®
- UPC 3800039118. 12.2-ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011
- UPC 3800039120. 17-ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011
- UPC 3800039125. 8.7-ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011
Kellogg’s® Honey Smacks®
- UPC 3800039103. 15.3-ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011