Do You Risk Popcorn Lung When You Make Microwave Popcorn?

“Popcorn lung” is an irreversible scarring of the smallest airways in the lungs. It’s caused by inhaling vapors of a buttery-tasting chemical that some manufacturers may be adding to their microwave popcorn.

Diacetyl is a natural compound found in cheese, butter, yogurt, and wine. It’s not harmful when swallowed, but it can damage the lungs if large amounts are inhaled. Nearly all “popcorn lung” victims worked in popcorn or flavoring manufacturing facilities, where they breathed in the chemical every day. The most severe cases needed lung transplants.

Several consumers also claim to have popcorn lung, including a middle-aged man in Colorado who inhaled the buttery steam from the two bags of popcorn he microwaved every day for 10 years “because it smells good.” His $7 million award is being appealed by the supermarket chain that sold him the popcorn.

The 4 Safest Sugar Substitutes and a Few to Avoid Completely

The best and safest artificial sweeteners are erythritol, xylitol, stevia leaf extracts, neotame, and mon fruit extract—with some caveats:

• Erythritol: Large amounts (more than about 40 or 50 grams or 10 or 12 teaspoons) of this sugar alcohol sometimes cause nausea, but smaller amounts are fine. (Sensitivities vary among individuals.) Erythritol, small amounts of which occur naturally in some fruits, is about 60 to 70 percent as sweet as table sugar and has at most one-twentieth as many calories. Unlike the high-potency sweeteners, erythritol provides the bulk and “mouth feel” of sugar.

• Xylitol: This sugar alcohol, which occurs naturally in birch and some other plants, is about as sweet as table sugar and has about three quarters of the calories. Too much xylitol (about 30–40 grams or 7–10 teaspoons, although sensitivities vary) could produce a laxative effect and/or gastrointestinal distress.

How to Sanitize a Sponge: Are Your Kitchen Sponges Safe?

“Sponges are usually the dirtiest thing in the kitchen and difficult to keep clean,” says microbiologist Manan Sharma of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland

NSF International offers good reason to know how to sanitize a sponge; in a recent survey of U.S. homes they found 77 percent of the sponges and dish cloths contained coliform bacteria, 86 percent had yeast and mold, and 18 percent had Staph bacteria. NSF International is a non-profit agency that sets safety standards for water filters and other equipment.

Review of the USDA's FoodKeeper App for Smartphones

Thanks to FoodKeeper, a free app developed by Cornell University’s Food Science Department, the Food Marketing Institute, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), storing food has become easier and more practical! This app gives storage times for the optimal quality and safety of every category of food imaginable, from individual species of fish to baked goods and even baby foods. Especially practical is the option of automatically adding calendar reminders to consume refrigerated or frozen food items by a certain date. In addition, cooking times and general tips are provided for a variety of foods.