Take Your Pen Out of My Chocolate!

2007.Apr.25 Wednesday · 6 comments

in Life

For those who don’t spend their days perusing through the proposed regulations at the FDA website, the word is suddenly out, and unfortunately at last minute, that the FDA is considering a regulation that will allow manufacturers of “common products” to substitute cheap ingredients for more expensive ones if they think that consumers won’t notice. The uproar comes from the chocoholic community, as some of the prime pushers behind this regulation are apparently the folks at Hershey and Nestle, who want to be able to substitute low grade (and trans-fat laden) vegetable oils for cocoa butter, and call the product chocolate, instead of, as now, “chocolate flavored”. A good writeup on what’s proposed is Like Oil for Chocolate, available at Eating Liberally. The unfortunate thing is that today is the last day the FDA is taking comments on the issue on their site, which truly conveniently, is organized so that the expiring comment date is sorted in reverse order, i.e., anything expiring today is on the last page of proposed regulations, which means paging through a dozen pages to find it…. so, to make it quicker – go here. The original poster on the blog referenced above gives a link to a walk-through guide, which, unfortunately, comes up as a blank white page when I try it – maybe the chocolate manufacturers got it shut down? Just to propose a conspiracy theory for the heck of it. Non-U.S. based folks or citizens can comment too, as “International Visitors”.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Almeida April 25, 2007 at 10:20


I just sent an e-mail with a link to your site to the Newcomer´s group. I also just submitted my comments. What rubbish. I have never seen the US act like such a third world country since I can remember. But then again I have different perspective looking at it from the outside. Were we always like this?

 This may seem like it doesn´t really affect us much here in Buenos Aires but I think that down the line this will affect us. Already, you have in the local kiosks “chocolate” products that are made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Dan Perlman, through his blog, wrote about the FDA and that they are considering changing the legal definition of chocolate to allow big companies (Nestle, Hershey´s, etc.) to use cheap oils as opposed to cocoa butter and still allow to call their product “chocolate”. Why is this important? Well it is exactly like letting margarine companies call their product butter. In the case of chocolate, one is a known health hazard while the other one (cocoa butter) is filled with rich antioxidants.

Why do I think that this will eventually affect us here? Big business has no boundaries. They will try to get away with this everywhere and like it or not, the world does tend to look at what is happening in the United States.

ksternberg April 25, 2007 at 12:42

Thank you for alerting me to this, Dan. I just submitted my comments to the FDA.

matt April 26, 2007 at 20:18

i’m pretty sure that in england, chocolate is made the cheaper way and it’s always been called ‘chocolate’. the problem with this was when other EU countries (particularly the swiss and french) refused to accept english ‘chocolate’ unless it was called something else. i seem to remember that the english recently won their battle but i could be mistaken…as an aside, i love english chocolate, vegetable fats and all…

dan April 27, 2007 at 08:48

Washington Post followup today.

Sugar and Spice April 27, 2007 at 11:49


Apparently in Europe this measure went through years ago. Your crappy chocolate like product would most likely come under the brand of Cadbury. It looks like this measure was also already voted on here in Argentina and it was approved. There is more infomation on this (in Spanish) at the following link:


Frank E. Almeida

matt April 28, 2007 at 14:34

yeah, cadbury’s is sooo good…it’s what we’ve been brought up on in the Uk so it’s what our taste buds have got used to. most british people prefer british crappy chocolate to real swiss chocolate…personally i like both but i do miss a good dairy milk or galaxy…there’s good chocolate over here in chile down in the south where all the german descendents are. i guess it’s the same over in argentina around bariloche. and maybe cordoba where there’s a big german population.

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