Spicy chips seasoning sparks workplace health complaints

Workers at a chips factory in South Australia have complained that a spicy ingredient is affecting their health.

The ‘flamin’ hot’ seasoning, used for Doritos and Cheetos products, has caused sneezing, coughing, eye and skin irritation, and breathing difficulties, a union has claimed.

The United Workers’ Union (UWU) made a workplace safety complaint to the regulator after interviewing staff.

PepsiCo, which owns the factory, says safety procedures are being followed.

The UWU spoke to 13 workers on one shift at the Smith’s Snackfood Company factory in Adelaide, and said 11 of them reported ill effects from the seasoning.

In its complaint to SafeWork SA, it said that a “seasoning machine” is used to disperse the ingredient when the products are made every couple of weeks.

SafeWork has said it is considering the complaint from the union.

PepsiCo said staff safety was its top priority and that it was working with the union to address any concerns.

As well as the standard safety procedures in place at the factory, it said “there is mandatory mask wearing during the production of this product and we are installing additional extraction fans”.

The Doritos Flamin’ Hot Cheese Supreme corn chips are described as having a “bold cheesy taste with full flavour”.

Both Doritos and Cheetos have a flame icon on the packaging to indicate their heat level.


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