ConAgra Foods Stops Adding Diacetyl to Popcorn Butter Flavoring

Arriving on store shelve now, ConAgra Foods, owner of Orville Redenbacher's and ACT II microwave popcorn brands, announced in a recent news release it has reformulated its products with a new butter flavoring that has no added diacetyl.

"Microwave popcorn has been one of America's favorite snacks for years because it is delicious and convenient. Orville Redenbacher's and ACT II have all of the nutrition benefits of a whole grain, zero grams of trans fat per serving and now no added diacetyl flavoring," said Stan Jacot, vice president of Marketing for ConAgra Foods' popcorn business. "Our flavor experts have reformulated all varieties of Orville Redenbacher's and ACT II microwave popcorn to address any consumer perceptions about diacetyl and to make our popcorn factories as safe as possible. We want to assure our consumers they can continue to enjoy their favorite popcorn with complete confidence."

All packages with the new formulas will have "No Added Diacetyl" printed near the date code. Additionally, ConAgra Foods is introducing a new packaging design for all of its reformulated microwave popcorn products that will state "New Great Tasting Butter Flavor" on the front of the box, along with "No Added Diacetyl Butter Flavorings" printed on the side of the box near the nutritional information.

ConAgra Foods' release further states that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other scientific authorities have found diacetyl to be safe for consumers to eat; however, "The workers who handle large and highly concentrated quantities of butter flavoring with diacetyl in manufacturing plants face risks, and brands such as Orville Redenbacher and ACT II have protected employees from those risks for many years. By removing added diacetyl from the plant environment, the factory employees are protected even further."

In April 2007, OSHA initiated the National Emphasis Program to focus on the health hazards of microwave popcorn butter flavoring containing diacetyl after studies suggested detrimental respiratory effects. In September, OSHA announced that it would take the following actions to address concerns: Initiate a rulemaking under section 6(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, issue a Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB), and provide Hazard Communication Guidance. For more information, visit OSHA's resource page at www.osha.gov/SLTC/flavoringlung/diacetyl.html.

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