Press Releases


September 5, 2007

America’s first brand name of popcorn, JOLLY TIME, will remove all added diacetyl from their microwave popcorn products within the next 90 days.  “We are constantly working to optimize the flavor profile of all our microwave products and have been working over the past several months with our flavor suppliers to make this change,” states Garrett Smith, president of American Pop Corn Company, makers of JOLLY TIME Pop Corn.

Federal health officials have said there is no evidence that the preparation and/or consumption of microwave pop corn poses any risk to consumers. All of the ingredients used in JOLLY TIME Microwave Pop Corn products have been approved by the FDA and are safe for human consumption.

JOLLY TIME currently offers a number of microwave products that do not contain the butter flavoring agent diacetyl including KettleMania®, Healthy Pop® 94% Fat Free Kettle Corn, Crispy N White®, and Crispy N White Light.  Additionally, American’s Best® jars of kernels in both white and yellow varieties as well as JOLLY TIME kernels available in one, two and four pound poly bags are available for electric or stove top popping.

In April 2007, the Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA) launched a program to address hazards and control measures associated with factories where butter-flavored microwave popcorn is produced. As a leader in the popcorn industry, American Pop Corn Company worked closely with the National Institute of Occupation Safety and Health (NIOSH) in their efforts to address this concern.  “Our production facility was regarded as the ‘gold standard’ for microwave popcorn production and worker safety,” Smith said.

The following is information from the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation on diacetyl.

What is diacetyl and where is it found?
Diacetyl and related compounds produce the buttery odor and flavor of many foods.  It occurs as a natural byproduct of fermentation and is found in several dairy products like butter, cheese and milk as well as in bread, coffee, brandy, and rum.  It also is manufactured as a component of artificial butter flavoring that is used in butter-flavored microwave popcorn, candy, baked goods and cake mixes.

Are there any significant health risks in consuming foods containing diacetyl?
No.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently classifies diacetyl as “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) for consumption.

What about potential health effects of inhaling diacetyl vapors?
Interest in the possible inhalation effects of diacetyl developed when workers in a microwave popcorn production facility developed breathing problems in the late 1990’s.  Since that time, experience with people working around diacetyl and research in animals suggest that repeated and frequent breathing of high concentrations of diacetyl in the air may be associated with an extremely rare lung condition known as bronchiolitis obliterans.  The condition causes scarring of the small airways in the lung, which can result in less air exchange in the airways and over time, airway blockage. As with most medical issues, an individual’s medical history and on-going medical conditions may influence their response to diacetyl, so some individuals may be more sensitive than others to the inhalation effects of diacetyl.

In April 2007, the Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA) launched a program to address hazards and control measures associated with factories where butter-flavored microwave popcorn is produced.

The FDA continues to monitor research to further define and clarify any effects associated with breathing of diacetyl vapors.

Is the industry doing anything about the potential health effects to workers?
Because of the potential health risks from repeated exposure, the industry has implemented changes to reduce workplace exposure to diacetyl, including implementing engineering controls such as closed mixing tanks, separate mixing rooms for butter flavors, requiring respirators for mixing room operators, and improving air circulation in facilities.

Putting Risk in Perspective: Here’s What you Need to Know . . .
Current research indicates that there may be a potential health risk for those individuals repeatedly exposed to high concentrations of diacetyl vapors for an extended period of time – such as individuals who work in facilities that manufacture or use certain flavorings containing diacetyl.  There is no current evidence of a health risk for the general consumer who chooses to prepare and consume butter flavored popcorn as directed or any other product containing diacetyl as an artificial flavoring.

About the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation / Background and Purpose

The IFIC Foundation is the educational arm of IFIC. IFIC's mission is to communicate science-based information on food safety and nutrition to health and nutrition professionals, educators, journalists, government officials and others providing information to consumers. IFIC is supported primarily by the broad-based food, beverage and agricultural industries.

IFIC's purpose is to bridge the gap between science and communications by collecting and disseminating scientific information on food safety, nutrition and health and by working with an extensive roster of scientific experts and through partnerships to help translate research into understandable and useful information for opinion leaders and ultimately, consumers. These groups find the IFIC reservoir of science and health data a valuable and easily accessed resource.

Based in Washington, DC, the IFIC Foundation and IFIC focus primarily on U.S. issues. It also participates in an informal network of independent food information organizations in Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, Japan and Latin America.

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