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    • By david.upchurch
      Hello All,
      I am researching colorants for cacao butter with an eye toward  'natural' vegetal derived colorants. 
      My local packaging inspector ( California ) has required me to list ALL FDA approved artificial dyes and pigments, FD&C, Lakes, on my labels.  These are equivalent to EU approved artificial colors as E102 to E143, as I understand it. 
      Is anyone else tackling this issue?  Per labeling, this is a substantial amount of information as one multi-hued collection can have 6+ colors.  Other chocolatiers I have noticed use blanket statements such as 'FDA approved colors' or 'Cocoa Butter with Colors'. 
      I am hearing hints that the EU may impose stricter regulations on artificial colors.  Some of these, Lakes for instance, seem very dodgy as they are based on metal (Aluminum) salts to disperse the dyes. 
       
      Pur is one company that I have found that produces colorants from natural sources on an industrial scale.  Their cacao butters include other additives so I am really interested in how well they spray and perform.  Anyone have experience using these?
      Shelf life, color fastness, flavors in the colorants, all these are points of interest. 
      Thank very much.
    • By artiesel
      I work at a small business with about 25 employees where we make chocolates, popcorn and caramels.  In capacity as head chocolatier I have to work with our facilities supervisor to develop a food safety testing plan for the facility.
       
      Right now we are developing a plan to do the following: swab with ATP detectors to see if bacterial activity is present, test for Aerobic Plate Count bacteria (APC),  and swabbing for the presence of nut proteins to verify our cleaning protocols are sufficient to eliminate nut allergens and test the floor drains for the presence of listeria.
       
      Does anyone have any experience with food safety testing in chocolate plants??  If so, is there anything else that you think we need to be testing for?
    • By artiesel
      Does anyone know of a natural alternative to using potassium sorbate as a marshmallow preservative???
       
      Would citric acid or sorbitol suffice???
    • By secast1992
      So I've been experiencing cracks on the foot of my bonbons that I've been unable to find the cause of, hoping to reach out to the community to get to the bottom of this costly problem. 
       
      I work for a small chocolate company that makes our own bean to bar couverture. We use a continuous tempering machine with enrobing belt attachment. 
      The process: ganache is made and then piped into round silicone molds, which are then footed with tempered chocolate before being placed in the freezer until frozen enough to pop out of the molds. They are then set up right and left to thaw and dry out overnight on a equipped with fans aimed at the bonbons. The next day we send the bonbons through the enrober, and then they are transferred to a speed rack to set up, either at room temp (generally around 68-70 degrees F) or in a homemade cooling cabinet (an insulated box equipped with an air conditioner + dehumidifier + fans) that generally fluctuates between 50-56 degrees F (I know, large range). 
       
      Problems occur with both milk and dark couverture, with bonbons kept at room temp or in cabinet, thickness of foot doesn't seem to make a difference (we've tried thicker and thinner). Crack doesn't immediately appear; it usually takes a couple of minutes after being completely set before showing. It looks as though the foot is popping out, cause a hairline crack between the shell and the foot. I've attached pictures. You'll notice in the photos, that when the bonbon is cut in half, the foot separates from the shell pretty significantly. 
       
      Thoughts? Suggestions? Similar experiences? 
       





    • By artiesel
      Does anyone have any experience using Knobel depositing machines?
       
      My one shot plate is leaking chocolate out of the top and I can't determine why.
       
      Any help would be appreciated
       
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