Lack of public comment is one of the the things that let the FDA take away Cylert.
Now they’re planning to ruin chocolate.
Via Crooks and Liars:
From the Modesto Bee:
The federal Food and Drug Administration is proposing to redefine the very essence of chocolate and to allow big manufacturers such as Hershey to sell a bar devoid of a key ingredient - cocoa butter. The butter’s natural texture could be replaced with inferior alternatives, such as vegetable fats. And consumers would never know.
Chocolatier Gary Guittard said it best: “No one can afford to sit back and eat bonbons while America’s great passion for chocolate is threatened.”
For every defender of traditional chocolate, there are powerful proponents who want to replace cocoa butter with vegetable oil: the Chocolate Manufacturers Association, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Snack Food Association. These industry titans have filed a “citizens petition” to the FDA, as the Los Angeles Times recently reported, as if there were some groundswell in society to water down chocolate.
At the moment, chocolate requires two basic ingredients - cocoa and cocoa butter. Cocoa provides much of the flavor; cocoa butter, the texture. So if, say, Hershey wanted to make a chocolate bar without cocoa butter, it can under today’s rules. The product has to be labeled “chocolate flavored” (for it still has the cocoa in it) rather than “chocolate.” That gives the consumer a signal that something less than chocolate lies beneath the wrapping. To help defend chocolate, visit www.dontmesswithourchocolate.com and learn how to submit feedback to the FDA.
This is from one of the comments at the Grist site. It refers back to the LA Times editorial (emphasis mine):
The FDA is considering MANY things within the docket under consideration. That’s why there are so many names on that “citizen’s petition”. Yes, ADM would benefit in many areas should this pass as they make both chocolate and many of the substitute oils.
The curious thing about this docket is that there is an open comment period, but the precise contents of the docket have not been posted on the FDA website for the public to view. (As the originator of the editorial in the LATimes, I tried very hard to get a hold of the text.)
The portion about chocolate has come to light because a member of the CMA has dissented from the organization and passed around the proposed changes while we could still voice our opinion.
The “ADM” referred to is Archer Daniels Midland, a huge agroconglomerate.