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Kellogg's: 'Substance' Led To Recall of 28 Million Boxes of Cereal

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, July 01, 2010 11:37 AM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: Kellogg's, Cereal, Foodborne Contamination, Nausea, Diarrhea

Kellogg's Co., of Battle Creek, Michigan, wants the public to know that some consumers are particularly sensitive to a "substance" commonly used in packaging materials, the source of the off-odors and flavors found in some of the popular kid cereals.

On June 25, the company announced a recall of about 28 million boxes of Apple Jacks, Corn Pops, Froot Loops, and Honey Smacks because of an off-smell.

Consumers with the particular reactions can expect nausea and diarrhea within 15 minutes of eating the cereals. Many consumers have written to IB News saying they experienced gastrointestinal distress which kept them out of work.

"It was not caused by any material in the food" the company says in a news release.

What is the material?

The news release does not name it only to say it is present at "very low levels" in the waxy resins used to make packaging materials approved by the FDA." This is the sort of wax found on shiny apples and cucumbers.

Johnson & Johnson recently had to recall millions of bottles of Tylenol because of an "off" smell and musty odor which eventually was sourced to a chemical used on the wooden pallets used to transport packing materials at a manufcturing facility in Puerto Rico.

IB News has received not a single returned phone call to repeated requests for updated information, which is a departure from the normal corporate communications response. Our original story was published June 25.

Here is the news release:

June 27, 2010
2:25 p.m.
Experts Agree Issues Caused by Off-Odors and Flavors:

"Some Consumers Particularly Sensitive to Substances Commonly Used in Packaging Materials
Kellogg Company has identified a substance in the package liners of several cereals that can produce an uncharacteristic waxy-like off-taste and smell. We completed a thorough health-risk assessment with external experts in medicine, toxicology, public health, chemistry, and food safety. The results show that this is a reaction to the odor and flavor in the food; it was not caused by any harmful material in the food.

"The external experts agree that some consumers are particularly sensitive to these uncharacteristic off-tastes and smells which can have temporary effects, including nausea and diarrhea. People who are particularly sensitive to these off-tastes and smells react from 0 - 15 minutes after eating the product.

"The off-tastes and smells are caused by a slightly elevated level of a substance commonly present at very low levels in the waxy resins used to make packaging materials that are approved by the FDA. They are also commonly used to coat foods such as cheese, raw fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers. We did not find any substances that are not commonly used in packaging materials.

"We understand that these short-term symptoms are unpleasant and we are very sorry for any discomfort or concern you have experienced. According to the external experts, these effects should be temporary and your symptoms should subside shortly.

"We are working with our supplier of the liner to ensure that this problem does not happen again. We sincerely apologize to our loyal consumers for this situation."


Anonymous User
Posted by Darlene Hickson
Thursday, July 01, 2010 1:30 PM EST

OMG....I thought my baby just had an upset stomach from chili dogs from the previous night! He did have a bowl of his favorite cereal "Fruit Loops".....Who do we return the cereal to?

Concerned Parent
Darlene B.
Long Beach, CA

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, July 01, 2010 2:36 PM EST

Hi Darlene-

Visit our original story to see the recalled items. Call Kellogg's at 1-888-801-4163 for information on receiving a coupon.

We're sorry about the upset.

Anonymous User
Posted by Alma
Thursday, July 01, 2010 10:30 PM EST

I purchased a box of fruity loops and apple jacks at costco this last saturday, I ate some and so did my kids we did not feel any illness and I cannot tell if they taste funny or not. should I throw the cereal away?

Anonymous User
Posted by debbie
Friday, July 02, 2010 10:46 AM EST

I had been eating this cereal for the 2 weeks before recall. I had severe nausea, but then developed diarhea last week with severe nausea and pain Saturday night June 25th and had to go to an emergency room on the 26th for the first time in my life for pain and nausea. I have an immune system disorder.
Now I have a big hospital and doctor bill.
debbie lawson

Anonymous User
Posted by Bran
Friday, July 02, 2010 1:10 PM EST

this a serious thing but lets not forget we can get sick just by breathing in air and AIR cant be recalled. Lets be patient and not let this affect our love for froot loops. Sorry to those who were sick but to Kellogs we are behind you

Anonymous User
Posted by Angela
Saturday, July 03, 2010 9:27 AM EST

My son has had pains for a month or so now. He has been to see several doctors. He has had every test I could think of, from blood work to CT scan. They don't know what is wrong with him. He complains of constant pain in stomach area and it gets worse when he eats.He has lost over 10 lbs in a month. Has anyone talked to Kelloggs?

Posted by Jane Akre
Sunday, July 04, 2010 12:27 AM EST

Hi Angela- We've been trying to talk to someone in Kellogg's corporate communications and they have not been responsive to answer any questions such as what about people who have losses. It is unusual for a company not to be consulting with media consultants and issuing some response other than the release they put on their web site that talks about a substance.

And Bran- last time I looked we don't pay for air, so when a company puts out a product that you purchase, it is not unreasonable to expect the product you are paying for is safe.

Anonymous User
Posted by Angela
Sunday, July 04, 2010 8:11 PM EST

Does anyone have any idea as to when the company plans on letting EVERYONE know about the chemical they found?

Anonymous User
Posted by jacob
Tuesday, July 06, 2010 12:48 AM EST

Man i ate some apple jack sick all day stomach about to explode and had massive exposive direah


Anonymous User
Posted by jacob
Tuesday, July 06, 2010 12:48 AM EST

Man i ate some apple jack sick all day stomach about to explode and had massive exposive direah


Anonymous User
Posted by Angela
Friday, July 16, 2010 10:45 AM EST

I see they finally released the name of the chemical. Methyl-naphthalene.I knew this in June.

Comments for this article are closed.

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