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Labor tackles food flavoring poisoning

WASHINGTON, March 16 (UPI) -- The U.S. Labor Department said Monday it was taking steps to prevent occupational exposure to food flavorings containing diacetyl, a fermentation byproduct.

By withdrawing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration can proceed with developing a standard to protect workers from bronchiolitis obliterans, a potentially fatal lung disease associated with diacetyl exposure, the department said in a news release.

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"I am alarmed that workers exposed to food flavorings containing diacetyl may continue to be at risk of developing a potentially fatal lung disease," Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said. "These deaths are preventable, and it is imperative that the Labor Department move quickly to address exposure to food flavorings containing diacetyl and eliminate unnecessary steps without affecting the public's ability to comment on the rulemaking process."

Withdrawing the notice clears the way for convening a small business advocacy review panel to determine the impact a proposed rule may have on small businesses and how any impact could be reduced. The panel process is required by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act.

Materials submitted before and after the withdraw will be included in the public record, Solis said.

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