Flamin’ Hot Doritos, loved by many in Australia for their tasty flavor, are now causing health worries. According to a worker’s union, the spicy seasoning used in these chips is affecting workers’ health at a crisp factory in Australia. The UWU claims that factory employees have been suffering from “difficulty breathing,” skin irritation, and other problems caused by the seasoning in the popular corn chips.
In a report sent to the local workplace safety regulator, the UWU says workers at the Smith’s Snackfood Company factory in Adelaide have suffered an array of issues due to the flamin’ hot seasoning used for both Doritos and Cheetos. The union argues that 13 workers interviewed on the afternoon shift of one of the factory’s production lines have reported various symptoms, including sneezing, coughing, eye and skin irritation, a runny nose, sore throat, chest discomfort, and difficulty breathing. The UWU has filed a complaint with the regulator, and the Smith’s company is reportedly installing extra fans in the plant.
The company, owned by PepsiCo, follows numerous safety protocols and will work with the union to address concerns. In a statement to the media, PepsiCo said that staff safety is its top priority and that mandatory mask-wearing while producing products with spiced seasoning will further enhance existing safety measures. It also noted that it is putting in extra fans at the Adelaide factory to improve ventilation.
The ‘Flamin’ Hot’ Doritos have a bold, cheesy taste with full flavor and a chili pepper icon on the package to indicate the heat level. The chips are made with corn, lard, and other fats, and the flavor of the chili powder is mixed into the fat before baking. The heat comes from a mix of spices and other ingredients, including garlic, onion, cayenne pepper, and chili powder.
In addition to the Flamin’ Hot Doritos, Smith’s Snackfood Company produces many other popular snack brands, including Twisties, Sunbites Grain Waves, and Red Rock Deli. The firm markets these and other popular brands under the PepsiCo banner in Australia.
As of late, several companies have come under fire for using chili peppers to make their products. Some of the more notable ones include Trader Joe’s and Nestle, both currently embroiled in lawsuits with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over their use of the ingredient. The FDA has been taking a hard look at the health risks associated with chili peppers since last year, and it is considering an outright ban on the product, if necessary. This would likely be a massive setback for companies like Trader Joe’s, which has relied heavily on the spice to sell its products. The FDA is expected to issue its final ruling sometime this year.