Herbicide found in popcorn given away at Alabama store, health officials say

MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. — People who got free popcorn at a Muscle Shoals, Alabama, store Sunday afternoon may have been exposed to an herbicide, health officials announced Monday.

The herbicide called glyphosate was accidentally mixed in with popcorn oil used at Rural King Store, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. Officials said anyone who ate the popcorn at the store between 2:30-3:45 p.m. Sunday should contact their doctor or local emergency room if they’re showing any symptoms. Symptoms include increased saliva, burns in the mouth and throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Anyone who still has any of the popcorn should throw it away, officials said.

Glyphosate is used to treat weeds and is of low toxicity to animals and humans, according to the state health department. It does not stay in the human body long once ingested, officials said.

“According to scientific literature, this is a very self-limiting situation with acute exposure and no long-term effects,” Dr. Karen Landers with the health department said in a news release. “Symptoms are likely to have been resolved already and no antidote is required.”

Between 30 and 40 people got popcorn at the store before employees found out about the herbicide, officials said. Once they found out what happened, the store stopped giving out the popcorn and threw away the contaminated machine, they said.

The Alabama Department of Public Health is still investigating.