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News Opinion Readers Respond

Twinkies aren't 'health food,' but that's not why Hostess went out of business

Op-ed contributor Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson argues that the Hostess Company's bankruptcy demonstrates the negative effects of the anti-obesity movement ("An unhealthy fear," Nov. 21). But the demise of Hostess was not caused by the anti-obesity movement, and Ms. Simpson never presents any evidence that movement directly affected the company.

Ms. Simpson claims that Hostess is a "victim of another movement sweeping the country over the past couple of decades: 'low-fat' and 'health food' trends, and the current government-sponsored anti-obesity campaign."

But the only thing Hostess is a victim of is poor management and the recession. According to the Wall Street Journal, eight Hostess executives received 80 percent pay raises in 2012. Is it ethical to raise executive salaries when Hostess was in decline and had millions in debt?

The company's costs for its workers and the ingredients needed to make its products had increased, causing it to file for bankruptcy in 2004. With loans from General Electric Hostess should have bounced back, but there they were in 2012 with over $860 million in debt.

Hostess' going out of business had nothing to do with recent health food trends. Given the company's mismanagement, this "venerable American business institution" hardly seems respectable at all.

Logan Weir, Poolesville

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