Friday, April 20, 2007

Saving Chocolate

Ironic that since chocolate has proven to be so good for us, now the FDA is about to cave to demands from the Grocery Manufacturers of America trade group that the definition of what qualifies as chocolate be changed.

Currently, in order for chocolate to be, well, chocolate, it must meet certain FDA criteria, namely that it be derived from cocoa beans and use cocoa butter.

According to the folks at the Guittard Chocolate website, the grocers trade group has petitioned the FDA to allow chocolatiers to change the way chocolate is made, substituting cheaper vegetable oils for cocoa butter and using milk substitutes rather than milk--and still call it chocolate.

I rather imagine the result will be that most chocolate will begin to taste like those nasty wax chocolate rabbits that, of course, none of us ate this past Easter. But you know the ones.

It doesn't mean quality chocolatiers like Guittard will begin making shoddy chocolate, only that the standards of the industry will be diminished and the market flooded with cheap, nasty-tasting faux chocolate.

See's Candies and Guittard are asking people to protest to the FDA and tell you how to do so here. The deadline for public comments to the FDA is April 25--next Wednesday.

There are some pretty fine sugar-free chocolates out there, even some (thank you Chocoperfection) not made with evil, nasty maltitol.

Help save chocolate!

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