April 2 Meeting Set on NIOSH's Food Flavorings Research

NIOSH announced it will host a meeting April 2 in Cincinnati to get input on the protocol for an industry-wide research study to evaluate occupational exposures to flavorings in the flavorings and food production industries, a study of related engineering controls, and research on better analytical lab methods for use in exposure assessments.

The meeting will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the NIOSH Hamilton Laboratory, 5555 Ridge Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45213, phone 513-841-4366, fax 513-841-4483. It is open to the public; the room will accommodate about 80 people, according to today's Federal Register notice.

OSHA has an emphasis program under way concerning diacetyl, the much-talked-about flavoring in microwave buttered popcorn to which some workers' respiratory illnesses have been linked. Unions and congressional allies have pushed for an emergency standard to limit exposures, thus far without success. Citing 2002 U.S. Census data, today's notice says there were approximately 21,000 employees working in flavoring production and about 1.5 million workers in food manufacturing nationwide. NIOSH investigators have begun to evaluate analytical methods, exposure assessment, and engineering controls in these industries; the meeting will give external peer reviewers a chance to discuss the research and will let stakeholders comment on it. To participate (whether making a presentation or not), send an e-mail to [email protected] with your name, affiliation, and whether you request time to speak.

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