Friday, June 8, 2007
Things I want to make (but probably never will):
In Revival News:
Here’s the recap of Candy Blog reviews this week:
Monday: KitKat Temptations: Hazelnut Praline & Coconut Eclair (5 out of 10)
Tuesday: Werther’s Original Chewy Caramels (7 out of 10)
Wednesday: Nutpatch Nougats (10 out of 10)
Thursday: Tiny Size Chiclets (5 out of 10)
Friday: Chocotelegram & Chocolate Dispatch (7 out of 10)
Weekly Average: 6.8 ... 40% chocolate content.
Friday, June 1, 2007
It’s a new month, so here’s a new feature for you, just a little weekly recap not only of what I’ve covered here, but all the candy news that’s fit to link!
Here’s the recap of CandyBlog reviews this week:
Wednesday: Butterfinger Stixx (6 out of 10)
Thursday: Starburst Sours (New) (6 out of 10)
Friday: Sour Extinguisher (5 out of 10)
Weekly Average: 6.5 ... 50% chocolate content.
Friday, May 18, 2007
The FDA is considering a petition by chocolate manufacturers to change the very definition of chocolate, which would allow the stuff that we buy called Chocolate to contain alternative vegetable fats (tropical oils) instead of the natural cocoa butter that has always been a part of our chocolate bars.
Submit your comments directly to the FDA here - the deadline is now June 25th.
The Citizen’s Petition under consideration at the FDA (2007P-0085 - Adopt Regulations of General Applicability to all Food Standards that would Permit, within Stated Boundaries, Deviations from the Requirements of the Individual Food Standards of Identity) deals with more than just Chocolate. Chocolate is simply the rallying point. If you haven’t read up on it yet, you can view the brief on what’s covered here in Appendix C (PDF). Unfortunately the FDA has not released that file for public review, but it’s alluded to in the original Petition (PDF).
Change Product Appearance
Alternative Procedures for Production
Some aren’t so bad. I don’t see why they can’t call a small loaf of bread a loaf and it’d be nice to be able to get whole pineapple in a can. But I don’t know what enzyme modified egg yolks are, and I don’t think I want them if I can have regular egg yolks. I don’t think I want anti-mycotic treatments in my milk products either, my only experience is using some sort of anti-mycotic additive to the paint on my bathroom walls, and though it was attractive and works well, I’m not going to drink it. And please, leave my yogurt alone.
Submit your comments directly to the FDA here - the deadline is now June 25th.
You can check out my appearance on KCRW’s Good Food this Saturday, May 19th (and online here).
Monday, May 14, 2007
The news broke this weekend that Mars quietly changed the recipe for some of their most popular candy bars in Europe which now makes them verboten for strict vegetarians.
Up until now those vegetarians who eat dairy were able to enjoy Mars Bars, Twix, Milky Way and Bounty bars. Though they do contain milk products, there were no products in the ingredients derived from dead animals.
Not so as of this month. Mars switched to a whey product that uses rennet. Rennet is an enzyme harvested from slaughtered calves’ stomachs. It’s often used in the production of cheeses.
I’m not a vegetarian though I don’t eat meat from mammals. However I will eat products that contain some animal by-products such as gelatin or rennet (cheese). I don’t really like the idea of eating boiled down animal joints, but I like my gummi bears an awful lot.
The big question at the moment is how this revelation will effect the fight to Keep Chocolate Real with the FDA and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. The new proposal not only would allow the swapping of cocoa butter for vegetable fats, it would also allow the use of whey in chocolate products as well. Whey is a cheap filler. Though nutritionally it may improve the profile of a chocolate bar (it’s protein instead of sugar or fat) it can also be made, as mentioned above, using rennet. Wouldn’t it be sad if suddenly so many mass-manufactured chocolate bars were suddenly off limits to so many people?
UPDATE: It looks like Mars underestimated their vegetarian clientelle and have reversed their previous decision and will now use whey made in an all vegetarian way. Masterfoods was innundated with 6,000 emails. It makes me wonder what else we could get companies to do if we just told them what we wanted or would accept. More news here.
Saturday, May 5, 2007
The newspapers are still latching onto the story. Browse through a few stories:
It’s important to keep the coverage going through blog posts and message boards and letters to the editor. The story should saturate the news so that the comments at the FDA will ultimately reflect the citizens and not just manufacturers.
Monday, April 30, 2007
There was an extremely interesting comment left over the weekend on this post.
It had a quote from Hershey’s asserting their position in 2000 that chocolate should not be adulterated with vegetable fats or milk protein fillers.
Back in 1999 the USDA worked on something called the Codex for Proposed Standards for Cocoa and Chocolate Products that met for several years as an international body. The US had quite a few delegates for this and those who weren’t in attendance still offered their comments.
But whatever it was is kind of a side story, because the point is that Hershey has not always been on the bandwagon to sell mockolate to unsuspecting Americans.
On August 28, 2000 Stanley M. Tarka, Jr, PhD (Senior Director Food Science & Technology) filed an official statement as a member of the Hershey Foods team.
Other comments on file:
Lyn O’Brien Nabors (Executive Vice President) of the Calorie Control Council was pushing the support of alternative sweeteners, specifically looking to add Sucralose and Alitame to the list of approved sweeteners. (Don’t know what Alitame is? I had to look it up, it’s not approved for use in the US by the FDA.) (link)
Edward S. Seguine (Vice President) of Guittard Chocolate Company said pretty much what Hershey’s guy said. They were against any adulteration of the standard, and if things were allowed to change, then they’d better be clearly labeled on the front of the package (which is pretty much the way they are now). (link)
Paul Michaels (President) of M&M Mars had a lot to say ... four pages. In short, his recommendation was a hybrid of the current petiton at the FDA. He supported the swapping of cocoa butter with up to 5% vegetable fat, use of a wide range of milk products, other edible foodstuffs, a wide range of sweeteners and the use of polydextrose. Basically, if they got their way back then there’d be far less chocolate in M&Ms than there is now. (I had to look up polydextrose too, it’s a filler. It contains sorbitol which has a known laxative effect. It’s often used to make placebos.) (link)
Richard R. Rio (Associate Director of Regulatory Affairs) of McNeil Specialty Products Company wants Sucralose to be permitted in chocolate. Small wonder, McNeil makes Sucralose. (link)
Robert M. Reeves (President) of the Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils, Inc. supports the use of up to 5% vegetable fats. No surprise there either. (link)
Kenneth Mercurio (Director, Regulatory & Nutrition) of Nestle said “Allowing 5% vegetable oils is a step in this direction to modernize the chocolate standards in the US.” They also do not support the use of an language on the label that would notify consumers of this. It strikes me that Nestle, as an international company would want a standard throughout all of its territories. But I don’t want modern chocolate. (link)
So I’m left with the feeling that Hershey & Guittard are the only CMA members who wanted to keep our chocolate real. And the only thing that seems to have changed in the intervening years is that Hershey has taken a complete 180 degree turn on the issue.
Hershey has been under huge pressures. In 2002 the Hershey Trust attempted to sell the company (but was stopped by public opinion). Currently they are downsizing, consolidating and outsourcing. They company is not losing money or anything, it’s just not growing, not keeping its other investors happy (seriously, the Trust doesn’t need any more money).
Without the backing of Hershey, the CMA lost its largest voice for traditional chocolate. This is not the Hershey’s I grew up with.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
The article in the Washington Post appeared on their website a little while ago.
Chocolate Purists Cry Foul as FDA Fudges Standards
Here are a few interesting passages:
When I talked to Michael Rosenwald about what happens to those comments we submitted on the website, he said that the 225 number was just what they’ve processed. On the FDA website, in their dockets section they have a Daily Listing which shows what they’ve processed lately. They post updates every weekday, however they don’t necessarily process the comments immediately. There’s a big gap between the processed comments since April 16th was the only one I found and then they posted a list on April 23rd. I don’t know how many more are in the queue ... hopefully enough.
I’m not an industry insider working at a mega huge company like Hershey’s, so I don’t know about this high quality oil that’s equal to or better than cocoa butter.
This is so true. Just like there’s crappy real chocolate and really good chocolate right now. However, I think that gap will get wider.
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.