Sensient Flavors says it is addressing worker health and safety issues

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Diacetyl has been linked to lung disease
Diacetyl has been linked to lung disease
Sensient Flavors has defended its health and safety record after the Indiana Occupational Health and Safety Administration (IOHSA) found workers at an Indianapolis plant were exposed to high levels of toxic chemicals.

An article published last week in the Indianapolis Star​ unveiled documents from IOSHA, which showed inspectors had found workers at the flavor company’s Indianapolis-based plant were exposed to hydrogen sulfide and diacetyl at levels considered to be harmful to health.

Diacetyl is a butter flavoring that has been linked to a life-threatening lung disease known as bronchiolitis obliterans​ in factory workers who inhale the substance. According to an IOSHA inspection document, workers were exposed to more than 400 times the level of diacetyl generally recognized as safe, and to more than ten times the level of hydrogen sulfide considered to pose no threat to health, and twice the level considered to pose an immediate danger to health.

Sensient was given until September 17, 2012 to abate all safety violations reported by inspectors, and the company claims that it has already addressed many of the issues identified.

A Sensient spokesperson said in a statement: “The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) recently completed an inspection of the Sensient Indianapolis flavors plant. Sensient has already implemented changes addressing many of the items identified by IOSHA. We continue to work with them to resolve any remaining issues. Sensient has always had a long standing commitment to maintaining a healthy and safe working environment for all its employees.”

The Indianapolis Star later reported​ that Starbucks had decided to cancel future business with Sensient Flavors, while The Campbell Soup Company said it was currently investigating the worker safety allegations.

Neither company returned calls for comment from FoodNavigator-USA prior to publication.

Related topics: Regulation, Food safety, Flavors and colors

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1 comment

400 x ?? Who's in charge?

Posted by Elizabeth,

In this day and age, in a company as large as Sensient, there is just no excuse for this failure to apply basic and well-known safety precautions. Get into the the 21st century, Sensient. I hope the company learns now that those bucks they saved cutting corners are going to cost them in multiples in the long run. Sounds like its time for the admiral in charge to step down.

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