On Friday, Kellogg’s recalled 28 million boxes of cereal. The Kellogg’s website currently includes an FAQ section regarding the outbreak, although there are still questions left unanswered. Kellogg’s does provide information on which products were included, and states that they were shipped nationwide.
According to the site, the recall was issued because:
We have identified a substance in the package liners that can produce an uncharacteristic waxy-like off taste and smell. In addition, 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.
Seems to me the natural question is, what is this substance? Apparently the folks who put the website together thought that was a natural question too, because they included it as a "frequently asked question." What they don’t provide is an answer. Instead we get this:
The off-taste and smell is caused by a slightly elevated level of substance commonly present at very low levels in the waxy resins used to make the packaging materials that are approved by the FDA. These substances are commonly used to coat foods such as cheese, raw fruits and vegetables, such as cucumbers. They are also used in packaging materials. During our thorough testing, we did not identify any substances that are not commonly used in packaging materials.
So, if it is a very common substance, and there is allegedly no significant risk involved, why aren’t we being told the name? My point is not to be alarmist. It very well may be that this substance does NOT, in fact, pose a serious risk. But once you have exposed millions of consumers to it, aren’t you obligated to tell them what it is?
Shouldn’t the FDA be requiring disclosure?