WASHINGTON — The House Committee on Energy and Commerce and its Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations have launched an investigation into the June 25 recall of 28 million boxes of Corn Pops, Honey Smacks, Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks cereals produced by Battle Creek, Mich.-based Kellogg Co.
In an Aug. 2 letter sent to David MacKay, Kellogg’s president and chief executive officer, Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Henry A. Waxman and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations chairman Bart Stupak asked about the company’s safety procedures, including requests for documents illustrating how it makes its cereal and what precautions it takes to keep 2-methylnapthalene out of its products. The chairmen also asked for Kellogg’s “policies and procedures designed to ensure that its cereal and other food products do not pose a risk to human health and are not exposed to chemicals that may be hazardous to human health or about which the company does not possess adequate information to assess whether the chemicals may be hazardous to human health.”
In addition, Mr. Waxman and Mr. Stupak asked Kellogg for all internal documents relating to the company’s investigation and subsequent recall of the cereals, including any documents relating to the presence of 2-methylnaphthalene or any other chemicals in the cereals or in the cereals’ packaging.
Kellogg has until Aug. 16 to respond.
In early July, the substance found in packaging liners of more than 28 million boxes of Kellogg Co.’s cereal in June was identified as methylnaphthalene, a petroleum-based compound.
“Working with external experts in medicine, toxicology, public health, chemistry and food safety, we identified elevated levels of hydrocarbons, including methylnaphthalene, normally found in the paraffin wax and film in the liners,” J. Adaire Putnam, director of corporate communications at Kellogg, said on July 13. “This specific wax is commonly used as a protective coating for foods, including cheese, raw fruits and vegetables, and is approved by the F.D.A.”
Ms. Putnam said methylnaphthalene is regulated in the Code of Federal Regulations and approved by the F.D.A.