A CHOCOLATE MESS

Thursday, May 24, 2007   |   Posted by Jim Hightower
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Shouldn't chocolate contain, you know... chocolate? By which I mean cocoa butter and solids, derived from the cacao tree, which the dictionary specifically says is "the source of chocolate."

No, says Hershey, Nestle, and other industrial candy makers that are petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to let them blatantly lie to us consumers about what's in their confections. They want to be able to use no chocolate at all – instead substituting artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated and chemically-modified vegetable fats, and other artificial ingredients – yet still get to call their product "chocolate." You don't have to be a chocoholic to see that this is a raw deal.

To add insult to injury, Hershey even blames us for its proposed rip-off, claiming that the deceptive label is needed to keep up with the changing "consumer taste preference." Oh, right – I'm sure there’s an explosion of pent-up consumer demand all across America for that yummy taste of chemically modified trans fats. Who wants that old cocoa richness when we could have the waxy texture of the artificial stuff?

What we have here is a crass play by the big manufacturers to use cheap ingredients, then advertise and sell the product as fine chocolate. Gary Guillard of Guillard Chocolate Company is one of many real chocolate makers who are appalled by this perversion. He says that the manufacturers’ proposal would "cheapen chocolate's great taste, all in pursuit of shortchanging the consumer, and putting that change in their own pockets."

If you want real chocolate instead of the fake stuff, which one group calls "mockolate," now is the time to speak up. The FDA's public comment period for the industry's proposal runs until June 25th. For more information and for a direct link to the FDA for registering your comment – go to this web site: www.dontmesswithourchocolate.com.

"Food-O-File," Austin Chronicle, May 4, 2007
"Letter to Stakeholders," www.chocolateusa.org, April 2007
"Are Chocolate Standards of Identity the Same Around the World?" dontmesswithourchocolate.guittard.com, May 2007

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