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Microwave popcorn is a convenience food consisting of unpopped popcorn in an enhanced, sealed paper bag intended to be heated in a microwave oven. In addition to the dried corn the bags typically contain solidified cooking oil, one or more seasonings (often salt), and natural or artificial flavorings or both. With the many different flavors, there are many different providers.
The design of a microwave popcorn bag is specifically keyed to avoid popped kernel scorching, an undesirable effect that takes place when popped kernels are heated above 300 °F (149 °C).
A susceptor, usually a metalized film laminated onto the paper of the bag, absorbs microwaves and concentrates heat at the film interface, thus ensuring a heat distribution focused on the hard-to-heat flavor coating so that the unpopped kernels are evenly coated prior to popping, thereby ensuring even flavor throughout the product. Additionally some popcorn is flawed and will not pop because of possible damage to the shell which allows the steam to escape. These unpopped kernels are known as "old maids" or "spinsters".
 Safety issues
A safety issue is the fact that the amount of cooking time listed on the cooking bag, (and the box it came in), does not apply to all microwave ovens. Setting the timer and coming back later (after the timer's alarm has sounded), could result in the popcorn being burnt and smoking badly. It is suggested by most microwave popcorn companies that the person cooking the popcorn stay in the vicinity of the oven and take it out after the time between pops is more than few seconds
Another issue with microwave popcorn is a chemical known as diacetyl. This chemical is used in the production of microwave popcorn and adds that buttery flavor. It has been known to cause lung disease in factory workers when inhaled. However, only one consumer was ever diagnosed with this lung disease. Microwave popcorn isn't a threat if it is not inhaled.
When it comes to snacking, consumers are looking for something easy, delicious and convenient. Popcorn is a yummy, whole grain snack. It's packed with fiber due to its whole grain. As long as no salt or butter is added, it's nearly sodium- and fat-free. A study published in Nutrition Journal found that air-popped popcorn, a 100% unprocessed whole grain, might be the best snack choice in terms of both satiety and calories when compared with potato chips. Participants who ate six cups of popcorn (100 calories) reported less hunger and less of a desire to eat than the participants who ate one cup of potato chips (150 calories). In addition to saving calories during snacking, the popcorn-eating participants also consumed fewer calories during their next meal. 
 Home-made alternatives
It is possible to heat popcorn in the microwave using simple paper bags, or popping the popcorn in the microwave in other containers including large glass bowls with heavy, but not airtight glass lids. These home made approaches allow greater control over flavoring and exposure to PFOA, but have a chance of leaving some corn kernels unpopped due to randomness of the microwave radiation distribution in a microwave. However, it is possible to cook the unpopped kernels a second time.
 See also
- "(WO/2001/053167) MICROWAVE FOOD PACKAGE". IP Services > PATENTSCOPE > Patent Search. WIPO.
- Brastad, William A (May 12, 1981). "Packaged food item and method for achieving microwave browning thereof (Assignee: General Mills, Inc.)". Google Patents Search.
- Begley, T. H.; Dennison, Hollifield (1990). "Migration into food of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) cyclic oligomers from PET microwave susceptor packaging". Food Additives and Contaminants 7 (6): 797–803. doi:10.1080/02652039009373941. Retrieved 29 Oct 2011.
- Silverman, Jacob. "Is microwave popcorn toxic?". Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- :"Orville Redenbacher's Introduces Pop Up Bowl." Food & Beverage Close-Up 18 Jan. 2013. Culinary Arts Collection. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
- "Winter's healthiest snack." Muscle & Fitness/Hers Jan.-Feb. 2013: 30. Culinary Arts Collection. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
- "Microwave Popcorn: Home made, cheap and easy".