Saturday, April 28, 2007


I know it's been ages, but procrastination is just part of who I am. Sorry!

Something has me fired up though, and in case you haven't heard about it anywhere else, allow me to bring to your attention a consumer issue near and dear to my heart: chocolate.

Chocolate manufacturers and various other food industry groups/companies, have petitioned the FDA to change the definition of "chocolate" to include cocoa powder with vegetable fats other than cocoa butter. On the surface, this seems benign. And maybe a silly thing to get worked up about. It's just chocolate, right? But there are larger implications here.

Imagine *any* ingredient on your food packaging being able to be redefined by petitioning the FDA to change what qualifies. What if your "chicken" is now "any land-dwelling avian fowl"? If "pork" becomes "any quadrupedal land-dwelling mammal weighing less than 200 pounds"? Think of the money the food manufacturers could save (and the profits they could make) broadening definitions as they see fit! And try to imagine what you might *really* be eating.

The standards for organic labeling are already being weakened. Recently, it was determined that foods can be labeled organic if they contain non-organic ingredients, so long as the company can "prove" that organic alternatives were unavailable or priced into what they deem exclusivity. So that organic veggie soup you're eating might well contain non-organic corn. And peas. And carrots. And you, as the consumer, have no way of knowing if any of the ingredients you just paid a premium for are actually what you expected your money to buy.

I'm well aware that none of this is new. The reason I'm bringing it up is that the chocolate issue *is* important to me, AND there is still time to do something about it. The FDA just extended the comment period on the chocolate petition until June 25th. So if you want to save chocolate as we know it here in the U.S., or if you want to send a message to the FDA that ingredient labeling is important and shouldn't be subject to industry wishes, or for any other reason you don't like this proposal, please go here:

If you click on "Register Your Comments", they have links to the FDA site as well as a letter you can copy and paste into the FDA comment section, edited to suit your viewpoint or "as is" if you're lazy like me and/or agree with the things the letter says.

To arms! To arms!

No comments: