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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

OSHA Issues Bulletin on the Hazards of Exposure to Flavoring Substances


The following flavors may contain diacetyl
Dairy FlavoringsHybrid Dairy 
(Contains a substantial dairy content)
Brown FlavoringsAlcohol FlavoringsOther FlavoringsFruit Flavorings
ButterButter PecanButterscotchBrandyNutmegStrawberry
CheeseStrawberry CrèmeCaramelRumHoneyCranberry
Cream CheeseVanilla CrèmeVanillaWhiskyGraham CrackerRaspberry
CheesecakeOther Crème FlavorsCoffeePina ColadaVinegarBlackberry
MilkRoot Beer FloatTeaMeat flavors (e.g. gravyBoysenberry
YogurtChaiToffeeMaltOther berry flavors
Ice CreamChocolate (esp. milk chocolate)WineFruit flavors -nearly any kind (e.g., banana, apple, grape, pear)
Ranch DressingCocoa ButterTequilaTomato
Sour CreamMaple
ButtermilkBrown Sugar
Peanut Butter
Starter Distillate or Butter Starter DistillateHazelnut & other nut flavors

This Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB) is addressed to employers and workers involved in the manufacture of "flavorings," (as defined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 21 CFR 101.22)1 in flavoring, food and beverage manufacturing. The SHIB provides information about the potential health effects associated with exposure to flavoring substances or its substitutes. It is important that all manufacturers and users of flavorings understand that even though a flavoring is considered safe to eat, it does not mean that the flavoring is also safe to breathe or handle in occupational settings.

Many substances are used in the manufacture of flavorings. Diacetyl is a substance widely used in food and beverage flavorings. Diacetyl is used in a wide variety of food flavorings, although flavor manufacturers have begun to reduce or eliminate the amount of diacetyl in some kinds of flavorings because of health concerns. The principal types of flavorings that use diacetyl are dairy flavors (e.g., butter, cheese, sour cream, egg, and yogurt flavors) and the so-called "brown flavors" (e.g., caramel, butterscotch, brown sugar, maple or coffee flavors). Some fruit flavors (e.g., strawberry and banana) may also contain diacetyl (Table 1). There are also a variety of special uses of diacetyl such as in vanilla, tea, and other flavorings that are difficult to categorize broadly. Industries where some firms are known to use these flavorings include, but are not limited to, candies, snack foods, prepared canned or frozen foods (especially with sauces), some dairy products, bakeries, animal foods, soft drinks, and flavored cooking oils. Some foods (e.g., dairy products, wine and beer) contain naturally occurring diacetyl.

The occurrence of severe lung disease among workers in workplaces where diacetyl is manufactured and used has led some manufacturers to reduce or eliminate the amount of diacetyl in some kinds of flavorings, foods, and beverages. They have begun to use substitutes such as acetyl propionyl (2,3 pentanedione) and acetoin. These substitutes, some of which are structurally similar to diacetyl, have not been well-studied and there is growing concern that they also pose health risks for workers. There is additional concern that combinations of chemicals may increase the harm.

OSHA does not have permissible exposure limits (PELs) for most flavoring substances, including diacetyl and acetoin. The SHIB provides recommendations for controlling exposure to diacetyl, diacetyl substitutes and other flavorings to protect employees from serious respiratory disease.