As reported on NewsBusters recently, the kill-joy food police are here just in time for the holidays.
On Nov. 19 ABC's "Good Morning America" aired a recycled study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a liberal activist group that, if it were given the power, would ban everything from remote controls to Chinese food to donuts to casual dining. But even without that power, the anti-food activists still have the networks eating out of their hand.
For the third time in just two months, ABC's early morning show devoted an entire segment to a CSPI study. The past two studies reported that health labels were too "confusing" for consumers while "leafy greens" were life-threatening. Now CSPI's latest publication attacks movie theater popcorn.
"On its own, popcorn is a low-fat, low-cal, whole grain food," said GMA's consumer correspondent Elizabeth Leamy, "but the Center says that the way some movie theaters prepare it, it's more like eating a rack of ribs with a scoop of ice cream on top."
CSPI first came out with a popcorn bashing study back in 1994, condemning it because of the "artery-clogging coconut oil" used for popping. The study received a great deal of media attention, and most movie theaters responded by changing how they popped their popcorn. This year CSPI decided to check on them and they're enraged by what they found.
"In the fifteen years since, the two biggest chains have quietly gone back to popping with [coconut oil], according to the CSPI's limited lab tests," said Leamy.
Jayne Hurley, a nutritionist for CSPI, chided movie theater owners, saying, "Coconut oil is the worst thing movie theaters could be using to pop in because it is so bad for our hearts."
It wasn't until the last minute (quite literally) of the segment that you found out why movie theaters have returned to their old ways. Leamy quoted Regal Theaters, the largest chain in America, who said that "it tried offering air-popped popcorn and that customers didn't like it."
Regal Theaters also pointed out that "most people go to the movies only about half a dozen times a year and that they see movie theater popcorn as a treat, not a staple."
The CSPI study had complained about movie theatre candy packages too, such as Junior Mints, which are "often jumbo sized."