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Congress Probes Cereal Recall

Food Safety: House committee requests more information about contaminated products

by Britt E. Erickson
August 3, 2010 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 88, ISSUE 32

Members of Congress have launched an investigation into the late-June recall by Kellogg of 28 million boxes of the cereals Apple Jacks, Corn Pops, Froot Loops, and Honey Smacks. Consumers complained that the cereals had an off-smell and taste.

In an Aug. 2 letter to David MacKay, president and chief executive officer of Kellogg, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Bart T. Stupak (D-Mich.) requested information about the company's knowledge of the contamination and its policies and procedures for ensuring that its products are safe. The letter also asked Kellogg to brief committee staff by Aug. 16 on how the company identifies, addresses, and prevents hazardous chemicals from entering its products.

In mid-July, Kellogg attributed the problem to hydrocarbons, including 2-methylnaphthalene, emitting from cereal package liners. According to the company, the chemicals "can produce an uncharacteristic waxy-like off-taste and smell," and can cause diarrhea and nausea in sensitive individuals. Data on the health effects of 2-methylnaphthalene, however, are scarce.

Kellogg maintains that it acted quickly to remove the affected cereal from the market when consumer complaints were raised and says it will provide the committee with the requested documents.



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