Food Safe Guru – Microwave popcorn

Posted on August 13, 2012 by


A new study raises concern about chronic exposure of workers in industry to a food flavoring ingredient used to produce the distinctive buttery flavor and aroma of microwave popcorn, margarines, snack foods, candy, baked goods, pet foods and other products. It found evidence that the ingredient, diacetyl (DA), intensifies the damaging effects of an abnormal brain protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease. The study appears in ACS’ journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.

The study reports that DA gives microwave popcorn its distinctive buttery taste and aroma.

According to, most microwave bags are coated with PFCs (perfluorinated compounds), chemicals that have been shown to suppress immune function in children and cause cancer in animals. In response to safety concerns, most manufacturers are working on phasing out use of this chemical. 

I stopped purchasing microwave popcorn a short time ago after reading the ingredient labels. I now make my own microwave popcorn by putting about a quarter cup of kernels in a brown lunch  bag, folding over  the end twice losed and putting it in my microwave for about three and a half minutes.  I don’t worry about chemicals and if I want to be decadent, I add butter or salt.

Making my own microwave popcorn is a small inconvenience not to have more chemicals in my system.


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Posted in: Family safety