Wednesday, April 4, 2007

FDA Chocolate Definition Change

I’ve been doing much more research on the issue of the FDA allowing chocolate companies to sell us chocolate that doesn’t contain cocoa butter. First, there’s nothing stopping confectioners from creating a product that contains cocoa solids and other fats. It’s perfectly legal. They want the FDA’s blessing to confuse consumers by letting them call an inferior product CHOCOLATE.

I read over the “Citizen’s Petition” (PDF) on the FDA website for 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. This is what it says:

Consumer expectations still define the basic nature of a food. These are, however, no generally held consumer expectations today concerning the precise technical elements which commonly recognized, standardized foods are produced. Consumers, therefore, are not likely to have formed expectations as to production methods, aging time, or specific ingredients used for technical improvements, including manufacturing efficiencies.

I’m not sure which ‘consumers’ they’re talking about when it comes to our generally held expectations about the precise technical elements of chocolate, but I’m pretty sure the majority of chocolate consumers would be able to tell the difference between mockolate and chocolate - both by looking at the label but more importantly by tasting the product. (I will grant you that I’ve had passably good mockolate from Guittard and Wilbur, which is useful your home kitchen when you don’t want a chocolate that you need to temper, like with dipped strawberries.)

And which citizens are saying this to the FDA on our behalf? Well, that’d be our good neighbors:

  • American Frozen Food Institute

  • American Meat Institute

  • Chocolate Manufacturers Association

  • Food Products Association (merged wtih Grocery Manufacturers Association)

  • Grocery Manufacturers Association (merged with Food Products Association)

  • International Dairy Foods Association

  • Juice Products Association

  • National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

  • National Fisheries Institute

  • National Meat Canners Association

  • North American Millers’ Association

  • Snack Food Association

  • But let’s get back to the simple fact that the confectionery companies can make mockolate and sell it right now. So ask yourself, why do they want to call it chocolate? Because it saves on printing costs to simply say “chocolate” instead of “chocolate flavored coating”? Or is it because vegetable oil substitutes cost 70% less than cocoa butter? (source)

    image

    If you’re curious about the current definitions, Hershey’s even has it all spelled out very well on their site.

    The FDA is The Nation’s Premier Consumer Protection & Health Agency ... the open comment period on this proposed shift is our opportunity to keep the CONSUMER in mind.

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:20 am Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyFDAChocolateNews

    Comments
    1. I’m surprised that this is coming at the same time that brands like Hersey’s are dipping their toes into the high-end chocolate market.

      Comment by Ruth on 4/04/07 at 12:27 pm #
    2. This is an outrage! How will I justify my chocolate fix without certainty that I am binging on something that is good for my heart and mood? If Vancouverites start buying “fake” chocolate when they think they are partaking of the real thing there is no telling what could happen to our rainy city! Long grey days becoming weeks becoming wet and depressing months have only been made tolerable by “real” chocolate and its many health benefits.

      Please don’t mess with us.

      Comment by Kats on 4/26/07 at 5:40 am #
    3. Hey what hte hell is this thing?

      Comment by Layssa on 5/18/07 at 2:54 am #
    4. Here’s something that is even more depressing:

      If you look at the list of trade groups that are supporting this, it points to the probability that ice cream manufacturers will be able to replace butterfat with hydrogenated vegetable oils much like they do in the UK, South America, and Asia.

      The UK is the perfect place to see where the American mass marketed food supply is headed. Artificial sweeteners are exchanged for sugar in non-diet products, vegetable fats replace cocoa butter in chocolate and butterfats in ice cream, and a host of other culinary nightmares.

      Comment by Franz Hemingbeck on 5/31/07 at 5:40 am #
    5. American food industries are becoming a sham. Look at chocolate, in particular. Bars from companies like Nestle usually contain “natural flavours”, coupled with a high concentration of sugar, to compensate for the lack of taste.

      As if this weren’t bad enough, they now want to replace cocoa butter with vegetable oils! We need a take a stand on this. We need to read our food labels to find out what it is we are really eating, because if you look at most foods in the supermarket, their ingredients are a long list of chemicals that can hardly be pronounced.

      When are people going to realize that these “fake” foods on the market are unhealthy? When are we going to start demanding better products and choosing quality over price? All these companies want to do is feed us junk food and make more money while doing so. Well, I’m not taking this crap anymore.

      Comment by Alex James on 8/09/07 at 5:42 am #
    6. Quote Alex James:
      “When are people going to realize that these “fake” foods on the market are unhealthy? When are we going to start demanding better products and choosing quality over price?”

      Well you see there is this one little problem. They make quality cost more and crappy imitation foods cheap knowing that a large portion of Americans are to poor to be able to make the choice. They have to buy the imitation foods to feed their families because it would cost a fortune to feed them with quality (real) foods. This is even made worse by our corrupt FDA being bought off by food “manufactures” and pharmaceutical companies so that they can make more money selling us things to put in our bodies that are not only bad for us but are also poorly tested.

      I am sorry if I am ranting a bit but I just can’t stand the hypocrisy of our government and the corporations that help to make it corrupt.

      Comment by Metalo on 6/21/10 at 9:23 pm #

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