Chewing-gum workers sue over butter flavor | October 9, 2017 Issue - Vol. 95 Issue 40 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 95 Issue 40 | p. 20 | Concentrates
Issue Date: October 9, 2017

Chewing-gum workers sue over butter flavor

Department: Business
Keywords: Food ingredients, butter flavor, bronchiolitis obliterans, popcorn lung disease

More than 20 chewing-gum factory workers say they have lung disease because of their exposure to diacetyl and acetylpropionyl, butter flavorings used in popcorn and other foods such as candy, baked goods, and flavored coffee. A spate of such suits by popcorn factory workers about a decade ago blamed diacetyl for causing bronchiolitis obliterans, a disease characterized by shortness of breath, fatigue, and ultimately death. Acetylpropionyl, a structurally similar butter flavor, is named for what might be the first time in the new suits, filed in Chicago’s Cook County Court. Workers from a now-shuttered Wrigley gum factory are seeking more than $50,000 each in damages. Named as defendants are more than 15 flavor makers, including Givaudan, Sensient Technologies, and International Flavors & Fragrances. Jacob Plattenberger, an attorney at TorHoerman Law who is pressing the cases, says Wrigley is not named because workers’ compensation laws limit legal remedies available to the workers. The U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health proposed restrictions on acetyl propionyl in November 2016.

 
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