Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Killer Chocolate

While reading the Seattle Times Editorials this morning, I was reminded of yet another egregious move on the part of the corporate food monster. So, still on the subject of food, I forgot to mention in my last blog that corporate candy industries, like Hershey's, have petitioned the FDA to allow them to reduce the amounts of cocoa butter and cocoa solids in chocolate in order to substitute cheaper ingredients! And what do they want to substitute? Partially hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, and milk substitutes. Yuck!

And why? Economics, of course. As if they don't make enough money.... They've already acquired the California boutique chocolate maker, Scharffen Berger; San Francisco chocolatier, Joseph Schmidt Confections; and Ashland Oregon's Dagoba Organic Chocolate. Furthermore, companies like Hershey's and M&Ms/Mars, who dominate the $13 billion dollar chocolate industry, buy most of the Ivory Coast cocoa which uses large scale child slave labor on its plantations. These children live in dire poverty, are overworked, suffer tremendous amounts of pollution, and are part of an outlandish system of slavery. But I guess child slavery meets the economic demands of these corporate giants. As does the request to make chocolate, well, not chocolate.

Gary Guittard, President of Guittard Chocolate Co. is certainly outraged with these corporate recommendations, which he makes quite clear with his Don't Mess With Our Chocolate website. As the site explains, the comment period to the FDA has been extended to June 25th. They also describe what you'll see on the comment page, including the docket which reads:
2007P-0085 - Adopt Regulations of General Applicability to all
Food Standards that would Permit, within Stated Boundaries, Deviations from the
Requirements of the Individual Food Standards of Identity
Sounds pretty scary to me! Especially since we have recently learned about the benefits of the flavenoids and antioxidants that are present in chocolate! The addition of the trans fats would certainly cancel out any benefits. What are these people thinking of??? Oh yeah, economics.

That seems to be what it's all about these days: money. But don't get me started on money, debt, and economics, because that is certainly enough to cloud my day. Indeed, a rapid mood change is required: I think I'll have some chocolate....while it's still the chocolate that I know and love. Oh, and is good for me too!

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