There are some things that should be sacrosanct. When I read recently about the Food and Drug Administration considering the "re-definition" of chocolate, I just about fell over. Yes, that's right--your government is considering messing with what can be labeled as chocolate. What's next, changing the ingredients of what we know as red wine?
Currently, companies are able to produce chocolate products without milk and cocoa butter and call them "chocolate flavored." With this new proposal, these products will soon be labeled as the real deal, which is a scary proposition for those who believe in the purity of real foods.
While I am certainly not a chocoholic, I enjoy a good piece of chocolate from time to time and have written about the various health benefits of small amounts of high-quality chocolate on a daily basis. (High-cocoa dark chocolate has blood-pressure reducing qualities, as just one benefit.)
The proposal to change the formulation was announced earlier this year by the FDA following petitioning from the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and Chocolate Manufacturers Association (CMA) along with other industry bodies. These people are calling for more flexibility in the current regulations to reflect "changing consumer attitudes and advances in manufacturing technology and ingredient supplies." What a crock of cocoa that is.
Amendments to the current standard of identity could lead to chocolate containing vegetable oils instead of cocoa butter and milk substitutes in place of milk. Personally, I'll stick with imported, quality European brands if this occurs and avoid anything made by CMA-affiliated companies. I hope you will do the same.