Processing Magazine

Petrochemical Identified in Kellogg’s Recall

July 13, 2010
Kellogg''s recently recalled close to 30 million boxes cereal brands after customers complained of getting sick from smelling and eating breakfast. Initial press reports did not identify any particular food additive or packaging ingredient as a possible source of the problem. However, Environmental Working Group has learned from the company that the source of the odor was methylnaphthalene. Methylnaphthalene, which comes in two forms, is a component of crude oil and coal tar and may also be formed "as a pyrolytic byproduct from the combustion of tobacco, wood, petroleum-based fuels and coal," according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The petroleum-based compound is produced in enormous quantities in the United States, and health agencies know very little about its safety, EWG scientists have learned. The latest EPA records show that companies have been producing the chemical since at least 1986, currently in amounts of 1 million to 10 million pounds per year.