andrew schneider investigates

September 4, 2008

Popcorn eater has lungs destroyed

Filed under: Diacetyl,Food - good, bad, weird,Food labeling,Food poisoning — Andrew Schneider @ 16:57

For the second time in this country, a popcorn eater claims his lungs were destroyed by the fumes from butter flavoring released when he microwaved several bags of popcorn each day.

A suit was filed late today in federal court in Spokane on behalf of Larry Newkirk, who has been diagnosed with a rare and often fatal lung disease lung condition called bronchiolitis obliterans, or “popcorn lung.” This disease has sickened hundreds of workers in microwave popcorn plants and other factories using the butter flavorng diacetyl and other chemical flavor agents.

He sued Conagra Foods, which made the popcorn; stores that sold it; and companies that made flavoring for the popcorn.

The Missouri law firm of Humphrey, Farrington & McClain brought the lawsuit. The firm for the past eight years has handled suits on behalf of scores of workers in microwave popcorn plants in the Midwest whose lungs were damaged or destroyed by exposure to high level of the chemical flavoring agent.

Newkirk is only the second consumer to claim he has been injured by cooking popcorn at home.

“Eating the popcorn is not what’s at issue,” said Steven Crick, who is Newkirk’s attorney.

Last year, a man in Denver was the first consumer to be diagnosed with the disease.

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