Monday, April 30, 2007

What Made Hershey’s Want to Change Chocolate?

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.

Vegetable Fats

- Hershey remains

strongly opposed

to the addition of non-cacao vegetable fats in any quantity to standardized chocolate products as currently proposed in brackets in Section 2.1. If vegetable fats other than cocoa butter are added to chocolate, then the label of such product should be required to clearly and conspicuously distinguish such product from standardized chocolate, similar to the approach taken in the current US. Standards (Sweet Chocolate and Vegetable Fat Coating; Milk Chocolate and Vegetable Fat Coating).

Other comments on file:
Raymond C. Glowaky of the Chocolate Manufacturers Association & National Confectioners Association - the notable passage I liked was that he suggested was under the section about processing aids was, “We suggest the word “hexane” should be replaced with ‘safe and suitable extraction solvents.’” Well of course they don’t want the word hexane appearing anywhere it doesn’t have to! (link)

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.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:52 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyFDANews

  1. Why can’t I find anything on the web about how a once perfect chocolate candy, Hersheys Kissables, suddenly tastes like…something else? I can only surmise the pod-people have taken over Hersheys and the only way we can tell is that pod-people can’t make good chocolate. For many years marketed at Hershey-ettes, I used to look forward to seeing them on the shelves during the Christmas season. I actually thought I would have a conniption when my grocery store stopped carrying them. I had to go all they way to the drug store to pick up a bag, buying some ?cover? products so it didn?t look like I was on my second trip in a week just for Kissables. Then I was told that Hersheys has moved production to Mexico and has sold the product line. What a crappy kettle of fish. Hershey Kissables were on the tips of everyone?s tongues when talking about a really good chocolate fix. My grocery store has finally started carrying them again. Too bad. I should have warned them not to bother.

    Comment by Dede on 6/09/08 at 3:33 pm #
  2. I thought it was just me!  I have allowed myself to indulge in one small Hershey bar with almonds almost every day for about a year now. To me, it’s the closest thing to perfection on earth. A couple of months ago, I began to feel like my taste buds must have changed.  Now I read that they’re adulterating my favorite food.  UGH!

    Comment by Janie on 9/27/08 at 9:35 am #
  3. DedeBritt's avatar

    If Hersheys continues to ruin what I once considered my reason for living, I see no alternatives, and am preparing to lead the life of a crack ‘ho. I’m cleaning out my bedroom, sobbing over every kissable wrapper I find; inside my pillow case, under and betweed the mattress, shoved to the back of my sock drawer, sticking out of an old shoe, and pressed between the pages of a romance novel as a book mark.  From what I’ve read I’ll neep a pimp to manage all the income. Life was so simple when I thought the Hershey’s Co. truely loved me. “There’s nothing like the face, of a crack ‘ho with out a Hershey Bar.” I bet I loose some weight, though.

    Comment by DedeBritt on 9/27/08 at 6:54 pm #
  4. When I went to bake my chocolate kisses on pretzels, it wouldn’t melt.  I thought I overbaked the chocolate.  Now I know, they changed the formula.  The chocolate seems hard, brittle, does not melt, kinda like a diet.  Hello, it’s chocolate!  We are choosing not to diet!  Holiday ruined!!

    Comment by Joyce on 12/13/08 at 6:58 am #
  5. This is the first I have heard about changing what constitutes chocolate! Some side notes, my better half is from Austria, and ocassionally gets nice gifts from ‘home’ that always include Austrian chocolate, yummy! Other Hersheys’ side note, I have a memory as a child in the mid to late 60’s, visiting the Hershey plant in PA, while sttending the amusement park, and I have a memory of seeing M&M;‘s being made there. Perhaps I was halucenating on chocolate fumes, but I would be interested to know for sure if this event happened, or I was dreaming. I do remember years later in the late 80’s taking my daughter to Hershey, and going on the tour…. no M&M;‘s, perhaps it was then I was informed Hershey does not make M&M;‘s. Another oddity, a search on the web does link Mars to Hershey in the 40’s, and stated the M&M;was for Mars, and Murrie. Murrie was a co-founder or partner of Mars, odd part is Murrie is a relative of the Hershey Founder. Another web page states one M was for Mars, the other for a co-founder who’s name is long lost to history. Perhaps the latter was a Mars web page????? Anyway, American mass produced chocolate IMHO does not stand up to it’s European counterparts, mostly because Americans…..... fill in the blanks. I do not agree,  Hershey’s make affordable edible confections for the masses, I loved the special dark bars. Europeans have more expensive, mass produced chocolates. Read thr lables, and avoid the additives. A good rule is, if you don’t know what it is, do not buy it, prohably not good for you.

    Comment by Larry on 1/22/09 at 5:09 pm #
  6. Cybele's avatar

    Hi Larry,

    Hershey’s did make an M&M;-like product for many years called Hershey-ettes.

    The Hershey’s factory was closed to the public in 1972 when they opened Chocolate World. Hershey-ettes used to come back every once in a while, usually as a holiday item. (I like the giganto Easter egg version.)

    Comment by Cybele on 1/22/09 at 6:11 pm #
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