Monday, April 16, 2007

Chocolate deadline looms

Posted By on 04.16.07 at 10:08 AM

Just a reminder: April 25 is the last day that you can comment to the FDA about proposed changes in what makes chocolate chocolate. Guittard Chocolate has been waging an internet campaign protesting the fact that the Chocolate Manufacturers of America and the Grocery Manufacturers Association "have petitioned the Food and Drug Association to change the current requirements for chocolate." The bottom line: cocoa butter would no longer be necessary--vegetable oil could be substituted--and to make milk chocolate, just milk-protein concentrates. You can read the CMA's take on things at their site; Guittard's site directs you right to the FDA comment page.

The chocolate changes are part of a larger, confusing, 35-page proposal (see FDA docket 2007P-0085) that'd allow all sorts of variances in food manufacturing and relaxation of federal “standards of identity.” The word "health" clangs as justification on every page of the docket; according to an Examiner piece, "The current standards make it difficult for companies to innovate in ways that could create new tastes, health benefits or prices that consumers may want." At a squint the whole proposal feels alarmingly far-reaching, in that but-it's-good-for-you Big Brotherish way, and, despite the looming comment deadline, far from settled.

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