The FDA is thinking about allowing Big Chocolate to pass off waxy imitations as the real deal:
Like all foods in the United States, chocolate is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration to ensure that consumers get a safe and consistent product.
But perhaps no longer. The FDA is entertaining a "citizen’s petition" to allow manufacturers to substitute vegetable fats and oils for cocoa butter.
The "citizens" who created this petition represent groups that would benefit most from this degradation of the current standards. They are the Chocolate Manufacturers Assn., the Grocery Manufacturers Assn., the Snack Food Assn. and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. (OK, I’m not sure what’s in it for them), along with seven other food producing associations [PDF] …
Because it’s already perfectly legal to sell choco-products made with cheaper oils and fats, what the groups are asking the FDA for is permission to call these waxy impostors "chocolate …"
The FDA does have a way for other citizens to voice their expectations. It’s buried deep in its website. Until April 25, the agency is accepting comments — by fax, mail or online — on a docket with the benign-sounding name of "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."