The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has reportedly cited Natural Flavors Inc. for 12 alleged workplace safety and health violations at its Newark, New Jersey, facility and proposed penalties in excess of $60,000. According to OSHA, an inspection confirmed that company employees were “overexposed to diacetyl,” a butter flavoring purportedly associated with bronchiolitis obliterans, a debilitating lung disease.

An agency regional administrator said, “As early as 2004, the flavoring manufacturing industry has been aware that its workers who are overexposed to diacetyl on the job have developed severe, life-threatening lung disease. It is outrageous that Natural Flavors would expose workers to this debilitating chemical without taking the necessary steps to properly assess exposure and protect its employees.” OSHA included a willful violation in the citation for the company’s alleged failure “to adequately identify and evaluate respiratory hazards.” See OSHA Regional News Release, April 8, 2013.