A group of external experts has verified that tainted packaging rather than any harmful material in the food is the cause of Kellogg’s nationwide recall of 28 million boxes of cereal, said the company.
The firm also confirmed that none of the faulty products had been sold or distributed in Europe.
Kellogg said a "slightly elevated" level of a substance commonly present at very low levels in the FDA-approved waxy resins in packaging materials was responsible for the off-flavours and odours in four types of its breakfast snacks. Analyses by its scientist had not revealed any substances that are not commonly used in packaging materials, it added.
“We completed a thorough health-risk assessment with external experts in medicine, toxicology, public health, chemistry, and food safety,” said a statement from the Michigan-based food giant. “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.”
Kellogg said the chemical is routinely used to coat foods such as cheese, raw fruit and vegetables such as cucumbers. But the company warned consumers not to eat the recalled product as they failed to meet quality standards.
The experts said some consumers can have a temporary adverse reaction to the off-smells and tastes, including nausea and vomitting. Those who are particularly sensitive generally react with 0-15 minutes after eating the product.
The company issued the recall last Friday on a total of 1.7 million cases of its Corn Pops, Honey Smacks, Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks breakfast cereals. The packets have been distributed nationwide with best before dates ranging from 26 March, 2011, to 22 June, 2011. All the tainted packages were produced at the firm’s facility in Omaha, Nebraska.