Chemicals in Our Breakfast Cereal

  • Author Monica Levin
  • Published September 14, 2011
  • Word count 387

When sitting down to eat breakfast, cereal lovers are unknowingly eating a chemical called 2-methylnapthalene. It is a petrochemical that is, “a constituent of petroleum, automobile exhaust…waste water from coal gasification, coke and shale oil production” as well as other strange sources. What is such a chemical doing in Kellogg cereals such as Froot Loops, Apple Jacks, Honey Smacks and Corn Pops? This chemical is released from the wax paper liners holding the cereal, and may be caused by sealing the wax paper with heat; this can cause the cereal to absorb the chemicals.

The FDA received numerous complaints from consumers who said that they could taste and smell the chemical in their cereal; some even complained of feeling sick.

In June 2010 twenty-eight million boxes of Kellogg cereal were recalled by the cereal company as the FDA started an investigation. The FDA inquired as to what went wrong. Kellogg explained that the chemical can go into the cereal from the wax paper liners. After that quick explanation, the FDA ended their investigation. The FDA overlooked an important question in its investigation; how toxic is 2-methylnaphthalene to humans?

The Toxicity of Methylnaphthalene is Unknown

Methylnaphthalene is one of thousands of chemicals that are presumed safe under the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, almost all of which have not been tested for human safety. Doctors do not even know how to treat people who are exposed to such chemicals.

What You Can Do

It seems that almost all food packaging materials pose some sort of health risk, even the aluminum in soda cans and the plastics used for deli meats. Glass is the best material. Glass is completely safe and does not leak any dangerous chemicals into your food; however, it is expensive and is breakable.

Cannot Rely on the FDA

We cannot rely on the FDA to protect our health; we have to take action ourselves. Here are a few breakfast suggestions that are safe and simple:

  • Make your own granola and eat it with rice milk or almond milk.

  • Make hot cereal (please choose the organic varieties) such as cream of rice, oatmeal, barley flakes, and quinoa.

  • Eat fresh fruit with some nuts.

  • Eat dinner leftovers.

The Best Breakfast For You

In order to determine which breakfast is best for you, get tested for food sensitivities.