September 6, 2007/MarketWatch/New York -- Major food companies are planning to remove a possibly dangerous chemical from microwave popcorn after the ingredient was linked to a lung disease, media reports said.

The three companies that sell Orville Redenbacher, Act II, Pop Secret and Jolly Time microwave popcorn are planning to revamp their microwave popcorn formulations to remove diacetyl, which was been linked to cases of bronchiolitis obliterans, a rare life-threatening disease often called popcorn lung, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

ConAgra Foods Inc., General Mills Inc. and the American Pop Corn Co. all said they would make the change, citing safety concerns, the AP said.

At least one man who ate several bags of butter-flavored microwave popcorn each day developed a life-threatening lung disease possibly caused by the additive, which gives popcorn its buttery flavor, Reuters reported. The ingredient had already been linked to plant workers.

From the September 10, 2007, Prepared Foods e-Flash