A new wave of occupational litigation - Flavor & Fragrance Lawsuits
A new wave of flavor and fragrance (Diacetyl) litigation is now emerging against the manufacturers and suppliers of food flavorings for chronic lung disease, bronchiolitis obliterans (BO), and other illnesses, resulting from worker exposures. The litigation results from the insidious return of Diacetyl (2,4-butanedione and biacetyl), as well as 2,3 pentanedione, into foods as artificial flavorings to alter the taste and aroma of products.
Historically, the litigation had its genesis in the manufacturing of microwave popcorn, where exposed to workers suffered lung illness. Most manufacturers removed the product in 2007 as a result of adverse public pressure.
Lack of Regulation
At present, there are no formal regulations to mandate an exposure limit. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health [NIOSH] and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists [ACGIH] have recommended exposure limits for both Diacetyl and 2,3 pentanedione, not exceeding 1 to 25 ppb.
Diseases Caused by Exposure
Chronic lung diseases
Interstitial lung disease
Eye and skin irritation
Chronic shortness of breath with exertion
In 1985 NIOSH investigated the report of two food workers with bronchiolitis obliterans who were employed manufacturing “cannabutter.” In 2000 NIOSH investigated the occupational exposure of 8 microwave popcorn workers in Jasper, Missouri, who suffered from bronchiolitis obliterans. NIOSH published a Health Hazard Evaluation and confirmed the causal relationship between Diacetyl and the medical condition of ill workers, bronchiolitis obliterans.
NIOSH has identified the potential hazard to workers exposed to Diacetyl and its potential causal relation to chronic lung disease, bronchiolitis obliterans, in the following manufacturing facilities:
-Diacetyl manufacturing plants,
-Snack food plants,
-Confection plants, refrigerated job plans,
-Cooking oil use,
-Pet food plants, and coffee roasting plants.
NIOSH and others have reported that exposure to Diacetyl causes not only bronchiolitis obliterans. but other chronic lung diseases, such as hypersensitivity pneumonitis, granulomatous disease, emphysema, asthma, and interstitial lung disease. As a result of the reaction that occurs in the human body, some individuals exposed suffer from eye and skin irritation as a precursor to chronic lung disease.
In New Jersey, it is alleged that some companies that manufacture flavor mixes (e.g., butter flavors) and raw ingredients (e.g., Diacetyl; 2,3 pentanedione) may have workers who are and have been occasionally exposed. Cases are already in litigation on behalf of these workers.
Flavoring Manufacturers (Large Suppliers)
-Givaudan: East Hanover New Jersey, Mount Olive New Jersey
-Firmenich: Plainsboro New Jersey, Newark New Jersey
-International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF): Hazlet New Jersey, South Brunswick New Jersey, Union Beach New Jersey
-Symrise: Teterboro New Jersey, Branchburg New Jersey
-Takasago: Teterboro New Jersey, Rockleigh New Jersey
-MANE USA: Wayne New Jersey
-Frutaron: North Bergen New Jersey, Branchburg New Jersey
-Robertet SA: Piscataway New Jersey, Mount Olive New Jersey
Flavoring Manufacturers (Other Suppliers)
-Advanced Biotech: Totowa New Jersey
-Agilex Flavors & Fragrance, Inc.: Branchburg New Jersey
-Allen Flavors, Inc.: Edison New Jersey
-Bell Flavor & Fragrances: Paramus New Jersey
-Brand Aromatics: Lakewood New Jersey
-Dragoco Inc: Totowa, New Jersey
-Eastcoast Flavors, Inc.: Carlstad New Jersey
-Elan Chemical Co.: Newark New Jersey
-Flavored Dynamics: South Plainfield New Jersey
-Foote & Jenks Corporation: Camden New Jersey
-General Spice/Genarom Int’l: South Plainfield New Jersey
-Hagen Flavor Technologies: Branchburg New Jersey
-H & R Forasynth: Teterboro New Jersey
-J. Manheimer Inc.: Teterboro New Jersey
-Mastertaste: Clark New Jersey
-Medallion: Pompton Plains New Jersey
-Natural Flavors Inc.: Newark New Jersey
-Noville, Inc.: South Hackensack New Jersey
-O’Laughlin: Springfield Township New Jersey
-Pena Int’l Corp.: Livingston New Jersey
-Polarome (Now Emoral): Jersey City New Jersey
-Puratos Corp.: Pennsauken New Jersey
-Robertet, Inc.: Oakland New Jersey
-Ungerer & Co., Lincoln Park New Jersey
-Whittle & Mutch, Inc.: Mount Laurel New Jersey
-Hostess Brands: Blue Anchor New Jersey
-General Mills: Vineland New Jersey
Click here to contact us for further information or to discuss a potential claim.
Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over five decades, the Law Office of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 firstname.lastname@example.org has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.
© 2023 Jon L Gelman. All rights reserved.
Recommended Citation: Gelman, Jon L., A new wave of occupational litigation - Flavor & Fragrance Lawsuits, www.gelmans.com (2023), https://www.gelmans.com/ReadingRoom/tabid/65/ArtMID/1482/ArticleID/1049/preview/true/Default.asp
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Coffee Workers at Risk for Lung DiseaseObliterative bronchiolitis, an irreversible form of lung disease in which the smallest airways in the lung (the bronchioles) become scarred and constricted, blocking the movement of air, was previously identified in flavoring manufacturing workers and microwave popcorn workers who were occupationally exposed to diacetyl (2,3-butanedione) or butter flavorings containing diacetyl. Now, NIOSH research finds that workers at coffee processing facilities may also be at risk.
OSHA: Flavorings-Related Lung Diseasen 2000, NIOSH conducted an investigation of exposures at a microwave popcorn manufacturing plant in Missouri.1, 2 Public health officials contacted NIOSH because a cluster of former employees of the facility had developed a rare lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans. The majority of employees diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans had been exposed to mixtures of butter flavoring chemicals. Evaluations of employees working in the plant revealed high rates of both respiratory symptoms and
Diacetyl and 2,3-PentandioneDiacetyl (also called 2,3-butanedione) is a chemical that has been used to give butter-like and other flavors to food products, including popcorn. This chemical has been used as a marker of exposure to flavoring vapors in investigations evaluating lung disease in microwave popcorn manufacturing facilities.
Flavorings-Related Lung DiseaseDiacetyl (also called 2,3-butanedione) is a chemical that has been used to give butter-like and other flavors to food products, including popcorn. This chemical has been used as a marker of exposure to flavoring vapors in investigations evaluating lung disease in microwave popcorn manufacturing facilities.1 Acetoin (also called acetyl methyl carbinol), 2,3-pentanedione, 2,3-hexanedione and 2,3-heptanedione are all structurally related to diacetyl and have been suggested as possible substitutes f