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
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."