KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Would you buy popcorn at the movies if you knew it was something other than a healthy snack?
That's the issue for theater executives, who are opposing a provision in the new federal health care law that requires movie houses to put the calorie count on stuff they sell. The requirement was to go into effect March 23, the one year anniversary of the Obama health care law. (As of 5 p.m. March 22, nothing had been posted on the FDA web site outlining the labeling requirements. The mandate also applies to restaurants, vending machines, and grocery stores.)
A 2009 Center for Science in the Public Interest study analyzed popcorn from the three top movie houses and found that a medium popcorn, no butter, can be anywhere from 590 to 1,200 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat. Add butter, make that 1,400 calories and 63 grams of saturated fat.
Bloomberg News recently reported movie chains, including Kansas City-based AMC Entertainment Inc., Cinemark out of Merriam, Kan., and Regal Entertainment out of Knoxville, Tenn., make up to one- third of their revenues from concessions.
Justin Scott, spokesman for AMC Entertainment, said the company has declined every interview request on the subject. He would not elaborate.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, of Connecticut, sponsored the food labeling provision, saying movie houses were a focus.