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FDA May Change Chocolate Standards!


aguynamedrobert
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There is proposed change in standard of what "Chocolate" is being reviewed by the FDA right now. What this proposed FDA law would do is make it so that up to 100% of the cocoa butter in chocolate could be replaced by vegetable fats and they could still call it Chocolate! So when you buy a bar of "fine chocolate" there would be a possibility that there is vegetable fats in it and not cocoa butter.

Cocoa butter is important because of the way it melts. If this change occurs the companies that use vegetable fats will have chocolate that will have a horrible melting property and ruin the taste and feel of the chocolate.

This law will confuse people on what real chocolate is in a time when people WANT REAL CHOCOLATE!

So write in to the FDA! All the instructions are on the link below and it only takes a minute. Go tell them that you don't want to allow vegetable oils in Chocolate!

http://dontmesswithourchocolate.guittard.com/whatsthisabout.asp

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There is proposed change in standard of what "Chocolate" is being reviewed by the FDA right now.  What this proposed FDA law would do is make it so that up to 100% of the cocoa butter in chocolate could be replaced by vegetable fats and they could still call it Chocolate! So when you buy a bar of "fine chocolate" there would be a possibility that there is vegetable fats in it and not cocoa butter.

Cocoa butter is important because of the way it melts. If this change occurs the companies that use vegetable fats will have chocolate that will have a horrible melting property and ruin the taste and feel of the chocolate.

This law will confuse people on what real chocolate is in a time when people WANT REAL CHOCOLATE!

So write in to the FDA! All the instructions are on the link below and it only takes a minute. Go tell them that you don't want to allow vegetable oils in Chocolate!

http://dontmesswithourchocolate.guittard.com/whatsthisabout.asp

I wouldn't normally praise the EU (European Union) but at least they've got relatively good chocolate rules - the chocolate directive states that a max. of 5% of the cocoa butter in chocolate can be replaced by other fats, if the substitution is clearly labelled - in effect this means that very few chocolate manufatureres in the EU does any substitution at all. The directive can be read here. Of course a no substitution rule would be much better, but the labelling rules are very efficient at dampening the desire to substitute.

Cadbury's in England lobbied heavily for a higher ratio of substitution, but were overruled. Think about this next time you eat a Cream Egg :wink:

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I was foolish enough to read the title of this thread with an optimistic, "wow, our government is taking action to improve standards of quality in the chocolate industry."

More than issues in regards to mouthfeel and technical properties of chocolate (producers of high-end chocolate will continue to create the real thing) laws like this serve to undermine the public understanding of food to only to benefit large corporations. The true value of fighting these changes is to promote our cultural evolution, and certainly, we should all step up to the plate to oppose this proposal and any others like it.

Formerly known as "Melange"

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I really don't think this is going to affect the gourmet niche chocolate companies in any way. If anything it will boost their sales once all the cheap candy bars go from blah to completely inedible.

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It might not change the fine chocolate companies but it might as well...think of the big fine chocolate companies....Barry-Callebaut, Lindt, Ghirardelli....these more "commerical" chocolates could easily replace the fats and not really show that change to the consumer. Lindt already add's "flavors" to their chocolate...the fats could be next...

Either way, chocolate that would have vegetable fats instead of cocoa butter could then be called "chocolate"...and fine chocolate with only cocoa butter would be called "chocolate" as well...not difference in labeling...so no one knows what is fine and what isn't...I think it would be a step backwards for chocolate in the USA...

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Thats too bad, I still dond get it!

I remember the italian bakers/ chocolatiers , when happend in Italy and Europe, but as Mette pointed its a little bit different.Anyway one more reason to inform people of what they eat and consider a fine chocolate .

Vanessa

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Either way, chocolate that would have vegetable fats instead of cocoa butter could then be called "chocolate"...and fine chocolate with only cocoa butter would be called "chocolate" as well...not difference in labeling...so no one knows what is fine and what isn't...I think it would be a step backwards for chocolate in the USA...

Kind of like the way a bottle containing scads of corn syrup, water, preservatives and artificial colorings can still be labeled "apple juice?" Somehow I still manage to find the one I want at the store--usually because it's labeled differently and costs more. You act like the FDA is going to force you to buy the cheap crap at gunpoint.

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haha...No I don't think that the FDA will hold me at gunpoint to buy a certain thing...what I am worried about are the people that want to buy fine chocolate but have no idea what to buy...they only have a few seconds or minutes to decide which brand they want(at the store) and this will make it harder for the average joe to find quality chocolate. For me of course it makes no difference because I know fine from poor quality...but I deal with the average joe every single day in the businesses I do and in my opinion this will only confuse people trying to find fine chocolate....

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Should we be worried that the major chocolate suppliers will start producing inferior bulk coveture? I don't want to have to guess if the chocolate I buy for my truffles and bon-bons is really confectionary coating in disguse.

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haha...No I don't think that the FDA will hold me at gunpoint to buy a certain thing...what I am worried about are the people that want to buy fine chocolate but have no idea what to buy...they only have a few seconds or minutes to decide which brand they want(at the store) and this will make it harder for the average joe to find quality chocolate.  For me of course it makes no difference because I know fine from poor quality...but I deal with the average joe every single day in the businesses I do and in my opinion this will only confuse people trying to find fine chocolate....

I'm not entirely happy with the prospect myself, but surely you can find something more productive to get yourself worked up about than whether or not every man woman and child in the world who buys a Snickers bar or a Russell Stover assortment box at the drug store appreciates fine chocolate on as many levels as you think you do. They've been replacing the peanut oil in peanut butter for years and most people don't know the difference, nor do they care to be preached at when purchasing and consuming such products which others might feel are inferior. The ones who do care can usually read well enough to make out the "100% Natural" designation in the "few seconds" they are apparently limited to by the supermarket Gestapo when deciding what to throw in their carts. They also get to buy cheaper peanut oil for their kitchens to boot.

None of this is going to happen overnight, and I think it's more than a little bit ridiculous to presume that none of the chocolate companies will revise their labels to reflect the new dichotomy, particularly when so many of them are currently struggling to capture the gourmet demographic. Even if one of the big names does decide to pull the ol' switcheroo on us all, it still shouldn't pose a problem for someone who makes his money teaching people the difference between various kinds of chocolate.

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I see your point but I would still have to disagree...I think this law would be a backwards step in the chocolate world. Since I work in the chocolate world it is my job to inform the consumer about these things and try to get them overturned. I just think that without this new law the chocolate world will be better off and with it it will be worse off so why not try to stop it in its tracks? So we will see what happens...

Have a good one...

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just because they can label something as chocolate, doesn't mean that they can hide that fact that they're using vegetable oils on their ingredient list. that hasn't changed, has it? are we that lazy that we can't take a second and read the labels on the products that we buy? i know i do it all the time.

i'm not saying it is a good thing, but i don't think it is the end of the world. i read my chocolate ingredient lists all the time to find out what kind of vanilla they use (hopefully not vanillin) etc.

use your common sense and put your money where your mouth is.

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I think the term "chocolate" has already been "tossed" around by major confectioners. Think about the chocolate on a Milky Way bar, that in NO way resembles the high quality chocolate found in artisan chocolates, but it's still called chocolate.

I agree with David J. and also add that this is an opportunity for top quality chocolate makers to differentiate their products and educate the public on what goes into their fine products such as 100% cocoa butter. Consumers are already becoming aware of cacao percentages, I think they would be thrilled to know that their $5. bar is denoted with a little burst which also notes the cocoa butter content.

I do, however write the above comments with a bittersweet note (yes, pun intended), and I am disappointed with the US's constant greed and hunger for cheaper (and often lower quality) ingredients. As a pastry chef, I understand the struggle for food processors to keep their costs down, which is why many bakeries use mixes (I would NEVER!), but as food producers, I think we should demand the respect we deserve, and consumers should be thankful that we give them only the best, not that other crap that just makes them fat (aka high fructose corn syrup). Also, I find it tremendously ironic that it is ILLEGAL (like punishable) in France to call yourself a bakery unless you make everything from scratch. That just shows their commitment to quality. I wish we could push aside our greed in the states and learn from the French.

Stephanie Crocker

Sugar Bakery + Cafe

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I think that the consumers need a bit more credit. They will seek out and buy what they feel is quality chocolate. and if they prefer the Milky Way..so be it. Those who purchase quality chocolate will take them time to read the label.

It is our job to sell the product and part of selling includes education. There is not a product out there that sells itself. Not a good thing that its happening, but just one more thing to educate our clients on!

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Hey Everybody,

Here is a link to the video that CBS 5 did on this proposal...They interviewed myself and Gary Guittard and showed it on the 6 oclock news...they messed up on how much vegetable oil will be allowed in the new definition of "chocolate" but check it out...

http://cbs5.com/video/?id=22219@kpix.dayport.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

The courage of their confections

Two candy makers are asking chocolate lovers to protest plans to allow cheaper ingredients. Vegetable oil, anyone?

From the Los Angeles Times, Saturday, April 14, 2007

Calling all chocoholics. Put down the truffles and power up the PC. It's time to weigh in on a fundamental question: What is chocolate?

Two of California's oldest confectioners, See's Candies Inc. and Guittard Chocolate Co., are battling an attempt to loosen government rules that dictate what ingredients go into the sweet stuff.

Legally, the candy that melts hearts and comforts the brokenhearted is made with cocoa butter and, in the case of milk chocolate, whole milk. But the Grocery Manufacturers of America, a trade group, wants to let confectioners substitute cheaper ingredients — vegetable oils and milk protein concentrates.

Read more about it here.

So long and thanks for all the fish.
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I do not have a problem with the FDA wanting to add or subtract ingredients from

chocolate or anything else for that matter, what I do not understand is WHY HIDE IT

print whatever you want on the ingredients and let us all decide if we want to buy or not

Why put ingredients in chocolate and not divulge?

Tarek

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I was just reading through the documents that are actually in the hands of the FDA that list the changes that are wanting to be made...Actually chocolate is just one change...they want to substitute SALT with other things, they want to change things in cheese as well...there is a list of things that they want to take out REAL ingredients and put in fake or less quality ingredients...

So not only chocolate will be changed!

You still have still the 25th of April to write into the FDA and tell them you are opposed to these changes!

www.dontmesswithourchocolate.com

Edited by aguynamedrobert (log)
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haha...No I don't think that the FDA will hold me at gunpoint to buy a certain thing...what I am worried about are the people that want to buy fine chocolate but have no idea what to buy...they only have a few seconds or minutes to decide which brand they want(at the store) and this will make it harder for the average joe to find quality chocolate.  For me of course it makes no difference because I know fine from poor quality...but I deal with the average joe every single day in the businesses I do and in my opinion this will only confuse people trying to find fine chocolate....

Right. But whether average Joe or informed home cook/baker, there is also the issue of access. If this change occurs, it will be even harder to find fine chocolate except in specialty stores. As it is I must make a special trip across town to get the chocolate I prefer to use in baking (only available in 3kilo bags), but in a pinch I can find an acceptable substitute in my regular grocery stores. If this change occurs there will be even less acceptable chocolate available in general food stores. It will be the classic instance of bad money driving out the good.

The irony is that it is only recently (10-20 years) that good domestic chocolate has become more widely available for home baking (true of many ingredients). It seems to me that the mass manufacturers, as they try to capture the consumer of quality foods and/or organic foods, are typically trying to subvert the very standards that we consumers are attracted to. Many of the smaller companies that atttracted us by producing foods the larger manufacturers did not make are now being bought out by these larger corporations. (Sharfenberger and Stoneyfield leap to mind.) The question is whether the original quality will stay with the name.

I disagree with those who feel we should simply shrug our shoulders and move on to more important things. Some suggest we merely need read the food labels, but if they change the definition of chocolate, then when they put the word chcolate in the list of ingredients of, say, cookies, there will be no indication of what's in that chocolate, it will be subsumed under the new definition.

We need to be vigilant that the FDA does not participate in the degrading of our food stocks. (vide: FDA's longstanding knowledge of spinach and peanut butter problems without addressing them.)

I agree that we should register our opinions with the FDA - BY the APRIL 25 deadline.

The internet makes it easier for us to be informed about issues such as this and easier to put the weight of our opinions on the email send button.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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Good News...the FDA has seen how many people have written in to them and how much of a concern we showed that they are extending the commenting period another month...Everyone can still write in, who hasn't already, to the FDA until May 25th! So keep spreading the word...

www.dontmesswithourchocolate.com

Edited by aguynamedrobert (log)
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