Monday, March 08, 2004

Better Late Than Never

EPA Tests Microwave Popcorn

As you are aware, a popcorn butter flavor manufacturer is being sued by workers who accuse the company of supplying a chemical, diactyl, that has destroyed their lungs. What about microwave popcorn consumers.

These workers are exposed to large quantities of the chemical on a daily basis, so us average popcorn consumers have nothing to worry about. Right?
Federal officials have said there is no evidence that consumers face a health risk from microwave popcorn. Until now, no one has directly studied the issue.

Well, that's about to change. The Environmental Protection Agency has decided to do a study to determine what chemical are released when someone microwaves a bag of popcorn.

The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association says that flavors do not pose a risk to consumers."We are confident that flavored microwave popcorn is safe for all of us to enjoy."

And the Popcorn Board agrees. Popcorn is "one of the most wholesome and economical foods available....'Popcorn is the type of thing that always evokes smiles,' Popcorn Board executive director Deirdre Flynn said. "That's why you've seen the industry rally as much as it has."

I feel better now. I'm definitely smiling.

Here are a couple of interesting factoids for your next boring dinner party: The average American eats 59 quarts of popcorn a year, according to the Popcorn Board. Consumers bought $1.33 billion worth of microwave popcorn in the United States in 2002, according to the Snack Food Association.

The EPA study is expected to be finished this Fall.