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National Popcorn Day: Standards Support the Satisfying Snack

New York, Jan 17, 2014

This Sunday, people across the United States will celebrate National Popcorn Day, taking the opportunity to recognize the enduring popularity of this versatile snack. Popcorn is a unique treat, capable of being decadent (if smothered with movie-theater butter topping) or healthy (if eaten plain, right out of the air-popper). However you choose to enjoy your popcorn, voluntary consensus standards will be there to lend a helping hand.

While making microwave popcorn at home is a popular way of getting your fix, popcorn is still strongly associated with concession stands and snack bars. UL 197 Ed. 10 (2010), Commercial Electric Cooking Appliances, provides requirements for indoor electric cooking appliances of less than 600 volts, including popcorn machines used at theaters, bars, and other businesses. The standard was developed by UL (Underwriters Laboratories), an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) member and audited designator.

For many people, a bucket of popcorn just isn’t complete without some salt and butter. But for those watching their salt intake for medical reasons, knowing how much salt is contained in the butter itself can be a great help in making sure they don’t overindulge. A standard from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) sets down a method for determining the salt content of types of butter that contain more than 0.1% salt. ISO 15648:2004, Butter -- Determination of salt content -- Potentiometric method, was developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 34, Food products, Subcommittee (SC) 5, Milk and milk products. ANSI member the American Oil Chemists' Society (AOCS) serves as the ANSI-accredited administrator of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO TC 34.

Many people also enjoy sweeter forms of the snack, including caramel corn. This delicious concoction is known for its sweet, crunchy caramel shell, but many varieties also have a flavor secret—peanuts. ASAE S410.2 JUL2010, Moisture Measurement – Peanuts, provides a uniform method for determining the moisture content of unground peanuts, helping to ensure that commercially available peanuts are not at risk of spoilage. The standard was developed by ANSI-accredited standards developer and organizational member the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).

When you’ve eaten your way to the bottom of a bucket or bowl of popcorn, the feeling of sated satisfaction often comes paired with niggling discomfort caused by popcorn husks stuck between your teeth and gums. Thankfully, a standard from ISO provides important support to the integrated dental floss and handles that can help rid you of this problem. ISO 28158:2010, Dentistry - Integrated dental floss and handles, does not apply to standard dental floss dispensers containing an ongoing supply of dental floss, or dental floss and handles where the floss is added to the handle by the consumer. The standard was developed by ISO TC 106, Dentistry, SC 7, Oral care products. ANSI member and accredited standards developer the American Dental Association (ADA) serves as the ANSI-accredited U.S. TAG Administrator to both ISO TC 106 and SC 7.

Whether you celebrate National Popcorn Day with a bucket of movie theater popcorn or with a homemade batch of caramel corn, standards are there to keep things popping.

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