Friday, December 28, 2012

Is your chocolate really chocolate?

I was looking at some of my Christmas candy, and I noticed that the label said that it was "made with 100% real chocolate."

I didn't even know that artificial chocolate existed. I knew that there was an artificial banana flavor, but I didn't know that there was an artificial chocolate flavor.

As usual, I am not trendy. Joy R. ran into artificial chocolate back in 2009:

I decided to grab some chocolate chip cookie dough while I was at the store today. I grabbed a roll of it, and noticed the label looked a bit different. That's when I saw it... a little red blurb that proudly proclaimed "Made with Real Cocoa!". What the?... I looked closer at the label, and saw that instead of containing "chocolate chips", the cookie dough now contains "chocolate-flavored" chips. I flipped the package over, and the ingredient statement confirmed it: Pillsbury isn't using REAL chocolate in their cookies any more. Instead of being made with cocoa butter, their chips use hydrogenated palm kernel oil. EEEEEEEEEEEEEWWW!

Joy also named one of the culprits trying to foist artificial chocolate on us...the chocolate companies.

Last year I heard grumblings that Hershey's was leading the charge to get the FDA to change the definition of chocolate so they could use cheaper ingredients like shortening instead of cocoa butter. I hope Mr. Hershey was buried on a rotisserie, because he must be spinning in his grave daily to over his company first shipping its production off to Mexico, and now besmirching the definition of chocolate by using cheap, disgusting, unhealthy substitutes. Thankfully, I think instead of changing the definition, the FDA opted to force them to use the words "chocolate-flavored" instead.

I figured I'd go to the Hershey's website for equal time, and found Hershey's Syrup with Genuine Chocolate Flavor.

And no ingredient list.

But there was plenty of talk of ingredient lists back when Joy was writing "EEEEEEEEEEEEEWWW!" And guess what? We're ahead of the Europeans:

The EU version of this Standards of Identity (the documents that specify what ingredients can or cannot be in food, and what you can call them) allows manufacturers to substitute up to 5% of the cocoa butter in chocolate and still call the resultant—whatever it is but it's not chocolate as far as I am concerned—"chocolate."

And there are health issues also:

Perhaps more far-reaching in its implications is the fact that cocoa butter protects the antioxidant properties of the chocolate and does not raise cholesterol levels. From a calorie and fat content perspective, the mockolate may be similar to chocolate, but nutritionally, the reformulated products may fall short of predecessors. And consumers who read that chocolate is healthy, may not know the difference.

Especially if the ingredient list isn't readily available. Well, a suggested ingredient list is available at this page:

The only ingredients in a good Chocolate bar are: CACAO PASTE, sugar, COCOA BUTTER, lecithin, and vanilla.
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