BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) _ Record numbers of people have been lining up for hours to watch how cereal is made at Kellogg Co.'s flagship plant, where the company's 80-year-old public tours end next week.

An estimated 7,000 people moved through the giant plant in Battle Creek Monday, eclipsing the record of 3,084 set July 15, said Kellogg spokesman Richard Lovell.

Another 5,000 endured rain Tuesday to take the tour, and thousands more continued to line up throughout the day Wednesday, he said.

''This is normally our busy time of the year,'' said company spokeswoman Diane Dickey. ''It's Easter break. Kids are out of school. But now a lot of people want to say they took the last tour, or at least one close to the last one.''

Kellogg, the leading manufacturer of ready-to-eat cereals, said it was ending the tours April 11 because it feared corporate spies would steal the company's new cereal-making technology.

The tours were begun in 1906, when Will K. Kellogg founded the company.

Kellogg has begun a multimillion modernization of the plant, the company's biggest and oldest and the only Kellogg plant where tours are conducted.

Visitors see how Kellogg cereals are made and packaged, with tour focusing on how Kellogg's Corn Flakes are created.

Some people reported waiting in line for more than three hours to take the tour this week. Others gave up.

A Girl Scout troop from nearby Marshall had made reservations several months before Kellogg announced that the tours would end, and members were unhappy with the prospect of a long wait on Tuesday.

''It was cold and raining and we didn't want these little girls to stand in line for an hour and a half, so we left,'' said troop volunteeer Pat Huepenbecker. ''This was our big field trip. Now, these kids will never get to see the tour.''

Lovell said Kellogg accepts reservations only as a means of determining tour-guide staffing and takes visitors through the sprawling plant on a first- come, first-served basis.

''It's typical for these groups to come in the summer and have to wait one hour or more,'' he said. ''The difference this time, of course, is we're closing.''

Some people aren't being dissuaded by the long wait. Amy Harbent drove her children from the Detroit suburb of Berkley to see the plant.

''I drove two hours to get here and I am not turning around,'' she said.