Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner
Kellogg’s recalled 28 million boxes of kid-popular cereals, including Froot Loops, Apple Jacks, Corn Pops and Honey Smacks, this summer. The company blamed elevated levels of a chemical in the packaging. The big problem: no one knows how dangerous the chemical can be to human, especially children.
According to a report by the Washington Post, “Dozens of consumers reported a strange taste and odor, and some complained of nausea and diarrhea. But Kellogg said a team of experts it hired determined that there was ‘no harmful material’ in the products. How Kellogg’s came to that conclusion is puzzling, though, since the federal agencies responsible for ” ensuring the safety of food and consumer products, are in the dark about the suspected chemical, 2-methylnaphthalene. The Food and Drug Administration has no scientific data on its impact on human health. The Environmental Protection Agency also lacks basic health and safety data for 2-methylnaphthalene — even though the EPA has been seeking that information from the chemical industry for 16 years.” I’m not comfortable relying on the manufacturer, are you?
There is a larger problem beyond simply the potential health risks associated with the chemical found in Kellogg’s products, namely the apparent gap in the government’s knowledge about chemicals we find in the products that make there way to our tables everyday by consumers nationwide. As the Post article points out, “Under current laws, the government has little or no information about the health risks posed by most of the 80,000 chemicals on the U.S. market today.” That’s 80,000 chemicals!
There are bills pending in Congress that would reshape the manner in which the government regulates chemicals, forcing companies to prove that new chemicals are safe before using them and requiring health and safety assessments of existing chemicals, such as 2-methylnaphthalene–the chemical found in Kellogg’s cereals. Although food manufacturers have complained that new laws might hamper innovation and competitiveness, it is clear that safety must trump their desire to maximize profits.
I encourage you to contact your local and federal legislators to urge them to pass laws that regulate our foods better to ensure the foods are safe before they are disseminated for consumption.
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About the author:
Mr. Zambri is a board-certified civil trial attorney by the National Board of Trial Advocates and a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. He has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a “Big Gun” and among the “top 1%” of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also describes him as “one of Washington’s best–most honest and effective lawyers” who specializes in personal injury matters, including automobile accident claims, premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice, and work-accident claims. He has successfully litigated multiple cases against truck and bus companies, the Washington Metropolitan Area transit Authority, and other automobile owners. His law firm, in fact, has obtained the largest settlement ever in a personal injury case involving WMATA. Mr. Zambri has also been named a “Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2010)–a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.
If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at [email protected] or call him at 202-822-1899.