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Popcorn flavoring victims dies as jury awards $7.5 million

Andrew Schneider of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, who has done a fabulous job of covering a variety of worker safety and health issues, reports that Ronald Kuiper, a victim of diacetyl exposure, died a day before a jury awarded him $7.5 million. But, Schneider argues, government agencies including the FDA and OSHA have done little to protect the public from the harmful effects of diacetyl.

Schneider reports that Kuiper had contacted him and thanked him for getting public attention to the issue, but said he was frustrated at the lack of federal action. As Schneider explains:

"America is the world's largest producer of microwave popcorn, and most of the manufacturers say they have removed the diacetyl from the products. But that's not enough for unions representing food service workers and cooks. They, along with dozens of scientists, have asked OSHA for emergency safeguards and exposure limits. Congress ordered protective action from OSHA.

Little has happened.

Kuiper died before getting his wish. Neither OSHA nor the FDA has tested the safety of the flavoring. And neither agency restricts or monitors its use even though food scientists estimate that today more than 14,000 individual products use diacetyl for butter flavor."

See the full story here.

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