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Don't Mess With Our Chocolate.com

Have you heard the great debate?

According to dontmesswithourchocolate.com,
some members of the U.S. Chocolate Industry are supporting a change in the basic formula of chocolate, by allowing the use of vegetable fat substitutes in place of cocoa butter.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a chocolate standard of identity requiring manufacturers to use approved ingredients in making chocolate, and it protects the consumer from any substitution of inferior ingredients. As a result, the Chocolate Industry must obtain approval from the Food and Drug Administration to make any changes to the standard of identity for chocolate. The FDA is entertaining a "citizen's petition" to allow manufacturers to substitute vegetable fats and oils for cocoa butter.

The "citizens" who created this petition represent groups that would benefit most from this degradation of the current standards. They are the Chocolate Manufacturers Assn., the Grocery Manufacturers Assn., the Snack Food Assn. and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and seven other food producing associations.

Because it's already perfectly legal to sell choco-products made with cheaper oils and fats, what the groups are asking the FDA for is permission to call these waxy impostors "chocolate."

A part of the proposed changes in the Citizens Petition presented by the Grocery Manufacturers Association to the FDA is a change in the strict Federal "Standards of Identity" for chocolate products which would permit the use of cheaper vegetable fats instead of the traditional cocoa butter and lower-cost milk substitutes instead of genuine milk products. This change would permit the resulting products to still be called "chocolate."

Hundreds of people have filed comments with the FDA, with the overwhelming majority seeking to keep it that way, according to an Associated Press review of the file.chocolate has been made from the cacao bean, with cocoa butter an essential ingredient. That ingredient is the essence of the taste, texture and "mouth feel" of chocolate, according to Jay King, president of the Retail Confectioners International, an industry group. Allowing chocolate in the U.S. to be made with vegetable oils could have an "extraordinary and unfortunate impact" on those millions, Steven J. Laning, an executive with Archer Daniels Midland Co.'s cocoa division, wrote the FDA.

But the shift would make chocolate cheaper to produce, since cocoa butter can be four or more times the cost of shea, palm oil and other vegetable fats.As recently as 2000, however, in letters to the FDA, both Nestle and Mars said they would support allowing up to 5 percent vegetable fat to be used in chocolate. Hershey, meanwhile, was opposed at the time, although a spokesman's recently published comments suggest the company now may be open to using substitutes.


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Who am I?

My name is Anna.
I am a HUGE lover of Chocolate.
I eat it, I research it, and I live by it.

By day I am a dietician, ironically as it may seem.
By night, I am obsessed with the various aspects related to chocolate.

A Day Without Chocolate is like a day without Sunshine.


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