Big movie theater chains are locked in a fight with the Food and Drug Administration over popcorn, as well as other prepared foods they sell at the concession stand. At issue is an FDA proposal to expand a federal law requiring restaurants with more than 20 locations to list calorie counts. The National Association of Theatre Owners wants an exemption from the rule. Should movie theaters have to spell out the health costs of popcorn or should they get a pass? (Watch a CBS report about the controversy.)
Cineplexes are putting profits before health: This is about protecting the theater industry's "artery-clogging, waist-expanding profit secret," says Sarah Gilbert in WalletPop. The owners are scared of what will happen if moviegoers know that a $6 bucket of popcorn — which costs the theater less than 20 cents to make — has as many calories as three Big Macs, plus three days' worth of saturated fat.
"Movie theaters not happy with popcorn calorie report"
People can do their own research: Critics are rushing to blame the theater chains, but let's be "honest, responsible, and realistic" here, says T.A. Mapenza in Associated Content. "What we put in our stomachs is finally our responsibility," and if you really cared about what was in the occasional bag of popcorn, "you would have found out" without the FDA stepping in. Let moviegoers have their "guilty pleasure" in peace.
"Shocker food: Movie theater popcorn is a calorie time bomb"
Let's trust the consumer: "We're no fans of the nanny state," but the FDA is just proposing a sensible way of "empowering consumers to make smart decisions," says the Los Angeles Times in an editorial. And instead of making a "melodrama out of a molehill," the movie theaters could simply offer healthier snacks. But even with the calorie counts, many moviegoers will still decide that a tub of "buttery popcorn is a rare and not-to-be-missed treat."
"A tub of calories"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The best places to find love — and lust — according to science
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- Sex can't explain the culture war
- Why GOP reformers are bound to fail
- The 6 best low-cost smartphones
- This simple hack for slicing cherry tomatoes will astound you
- The 5 best and worst states for a well-lived life
- How the battle for religious freedom became a nonsensical free-for-all
Subscribe to the Week