Save our chocolate!

I don’t usually post on non-technology issues, but as a certified chocoholic I think this warrants discussion: Hershey and other high volume chocolate manufacturers are trying to get the FDA to allow the substitution of vegetable oil for cocoa butter without requiring any special labeling. If you like chocolate, send your respectful comments to the FDA. Guittard has a nice web site up explaining the issue and letting you know how you can help. Thanks to Pavel for the link (now if only he would update his blog more than twice a year…)

~ by Andrew Shebanow on 20Apr07.

5 Responses to “Save our chocolate!”

  1. I would vote for abandoning the high volume chocolate manufacturers sooner rather than later.

  2. Rafe,

    I personally abandoned them long ago, but its getting tougher and tougher these days. Hershey now owns several high end boutique brands, including Sharffenberger (probably not spelled correctly, sorry). This kind of thing probably wouldn’t happen in Europe, where there is a long tradition of protecting food from such alduteration.

  3. Come on. Let them do this. It is a real competitive advantage for Belgium 🙂

    More seriously, unfortunately, the EU has recently allowed for some substitution vegetal fat. However, some countries, like Belgium, maintain a cocoa fat only standard.

    An additional negative effect of the proposed change: cocoa supplier countries are losing an important source of revenue. The palm oil, mostly used as substitute is originating from other countries. Bad news for Africa.

    Here the comment I left on the FDA site.

    Dear FDA,

    as a Belgian and a true chocolate lover, I should encourage you to go the proposed route of lowering the quality of the US chocolate. This is an excellent decision for the Belgian chocolate industry as the US consumers will clearly make the difference and increase the sales of Belgian chocolate.
    Furthermore, the disgusting taste of the cheap ersatz you are about to allow will certainly play a major role in keeping the brightest minds out of the US. Another competitive advantage for Belgium.
    However, thinking about my US friends and colleagues (and the burden it will represent for me to bring them the real chocolate every time I go to the US), as a matter of solidarity between chocolate lovers, I’ll put my chocolate nationalism on hold.

    Please don’t mess with the chocolate.

    I have already tasted the resulting mixture in some countries that have allowed this. Believe me, you will never offer your children any chocolate Easter egg anymore.

  4. What chocolate lover eats Hershey’s anyway? There’s vanillin and high fructose corn syrup too — all reasons why America’s proud creation of the 40’s and 50’s — the national consumer brand — is flushing itself down the toilet in face of buy organic, buy local, buy real. That circling-the-drain show is best watched munching on a local chocolate brand rather than messing around on or whatever.

  5. @Belgians: Sorry to hear that the EU has failed to protect the integrity of our food items, but I’m glad that at least Belgium has a better policy. I’m actually shocked if France and Italy allow such adulteration of the meaning of a food – I’ve always respected their traditions in this area.

    @anthony: So its ok to trick ordinary consumers as long as our high end chocolate stays pure? How often do you really check the ingredients on those high end bars? How often do you check the ingredients on that box of chocolate you buy at See’s or at Godiva (not that I’m accusing either one of anything, but you get my point I hope). Do you know who owns most of the high end chocolate companies these days? Multinationals. I say, if you call it chocolate, it should be chocolate.

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