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FDA Considers Redefining Chocolate

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the this-means-war dept.

The Almighty Buck 939

shewfig writes "The US Food and Drug Administration is considering redefining 'chocolate' to allow substitution of vegetable oil ($0.70/lb.) for cocoa butter ($2.30/lb.), and whey protein for dry whole milk. There are already standard terms to differentiate these products from chocolate, such as 'chocolatey' and 'chocolate-flavored.' The change was requested by the industry group Chocolate Manufacturers of America. Leading the resistance to this change is high-end chocolate maker Guittard, with significant grass-roots support from the Candyblog. The FDA is taking consumer comments until April 25. Here is the FDA page on the proposed change, which oddly enough does not say what the proposed change is."

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939 comments

Oh, great (4, Insightful)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849599)

As if American chocolate wasn't bad enough as it is...

Re:Oh, great (3, Funny)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849631)

As if American chocolate wasn't bad enough as it is...

Nonsense!

The quality of American chocolate is every bit fine as American cheese, American Pizza, American Wine, American beer... oh wait!

Re:Oh, great (1)

Sassinak (150422) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849725)

Stop.. please stop.. you are getting me nauseous. I need a drink of fruit juice.

Oh damn. even that lacks actual fruit. (27% my eye)

Re:Oh, great (3, Insightful)

246o1 (914193) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849737)

Though I am not a chocolate freak, I have to assume that there are American chocolatiers who make fine products. Just because most people in America are satistfied with non-gourmet products doesn't mean that those products aren't out there.

I am someone who like pizza and beer, and I know there are lots of good pizzas and beers to be found out there. Of course, everyone's definition of a good beer is different, but I've come across a lot of really good stuff in America, from John Harvard's house brews in Boston to Sierra Nevada and Anchor Steam in Frisco.

And apparently there are some good American wines out there, though I don't really give a shit about wine. I believe something called Screaming Eagle has quite a good reputation and is from California.

As for the FDA decision, well, I'm all for stricter standards in food naming, generally speaking, even when it's a luxury food.

Re:Oh, great (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849787)

Without researching much, Ghiradelli is a higher end chocolate brand in the US. I'm sure there're others as well.

Re:Oh, great (1)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849875)

I don't eat chocolate all that often but the last time I was in Vegas I stopped by an Ethal M chocolate shop, I think it's an american producer... bought a few boxes that seemed way overpriced but the taste was pretty damn good.

Re:Oh, great (3, Informative)

Rank_Tyro (721935) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849807)

California is part of America, and we make some very good wines here. The price of French wine has come down quite a bit because of competition from the U.S. as well as Australia.

From Wikipedia....

In addition to large scale wineries, Napa Valley's boutique wineries produce some of the world's best wines. The producers of these wines include but are not limited to: Araujo, Bryant Family, Colgin, Dalla Valle Maya, Diamond Creek, Dominus, Dunn Howell Mountain, Grace Family, Harlan, Husic, Kistler, Jericho Canyon Vineyards, Marcassin, Screaming Eagle, Shafer Hillside Select, Sine Qua Non and Vineyard 29.

Today Napa Valley features more than two hundred wineries and grows many different grape varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel, and other popular varietals. Napa Valley is visited by as many as five million people each year, making it the second most popular tourist destination in California, second only to Disneyland.

Re:Oh, great (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18849987)

Oregon and Washington make some damn fine wines too. Why spend $50 on a French Burgandy when a $15 Oregon Pinot Noir is almost as goood.

Re:Oh, great (5, Insightful)

kklein (900361) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849901)

Um, Northern California is one of the world's most-renowned wine regions. And the American microbrew explosion has been producing international-awards-earning beers for well over a decade. And pizza IS American food (as in, it is not the same as the original Italian food from which it is derived). And there is a growing number of excellent cheese companies in America. I'd be the first to admit that American-made chocolate (as in, they MADE the chocolate, from scratch, instead of just buying it from France and repackaging it--cough No-Ka cough) is nothing to write home about (unless the text of the missive was "It sucks."), but seriously, American gourmet has come a very long way in recent decades. Just, you know, to be clear... I know it was a joke and all, but... You know.

Re:Oh, great (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849941)

Eh, there are plenty of small boutiques in america which have really good chocolate, but yeah, all the mass-produced american stuff sucks.

Re:Oh, great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18850067)

Well, there maybe is good wine, cheese, beer and so on in America, but the trouble is that you have to first search for it and then pay a fortune. In Europe, you buy the cheapest stuff and it tastes just fine.

Re:Oh, great (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849975)

The ultimate goal of every American food manufacturer is to produce a product that can sit on a shelf, unrefrigerated, indefinately. They've already achieved this with Twinkies.

Re:Oh, great (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850071)

Twinkies can survive thermonuclear war. Bet you can't say that about any of your so-called gourmet pastries from Europe.

Re:Oh, great (1)

azakem (924479) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850103)

Nonsense! The quality of American chocolate is every bit fine as American cheese, American Pizza, American Wine, American beer... oh wait!
You know, every one of those things is great... if you go for the local or regional favorites, and not the mass-market production line crap. If you want good American beer, go find a good micro-brewery, there is almost always one nearby. You want good American wine, don't buy two buck chuck or that stuff that comes in a plastic bag. Pizza? C'mon. American cheese... well maybe I'll give you that one. That Kraft stuff makes good dog treats though. And on another note... everybody follow that link and tell the FDA what you think about this nonsense. Maybe the system will work like its supposed to for a change.

Re:Oh, great (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850113)

I know it is a joke, and I did find it amusing, but I would like to take this time to point out that pretty much every product in America has a range of price and quality with some really freaking good products at the top. For example Milwaukee's Best is one of the worst beers made, but there are hundreds of amazing micro-brews along with the mass produced Sam Adams at twice to four times the price of Milwaukee's Best. Likewise if you are going for cheese there are some amazing Brie cheeses produced in the states, but the cost per pound is about five-fold of Kraft and ten-fold of the store-brand knockoff. So basically anything you can think of you can find someone producing an amazing version of in America, but not on a shoestring budget.

Re:Oh, great (5, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849699)

Yes, but this move will allow the government to increase the chocolate ration to 20 grams per week.

Re:Oh, great (5, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849701)

I hope this doesn't fly ...

You got your peanut butter in my chocolate-y flavoured vegetable oil!
You got your chocolate-y flavoured vegetable oil in my peanut butter!
F*ing gross, dude! I ain't eating that sh*t ...

Not to mention the "anal leakage" you'll get from eating too much "vegetable oil chocolatey junk".

High pressure leakage (2, Informative)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850125)

Worse yet, some are producing 'diet' chocolate with sugars like maltitol, which does not get absorbed in the stomach like most sugars. But the bacteria in the large intestine can metabolize maltitol, and they produce lots of gas...

Re:Oh, great (2, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849947)

As if American chocolate wasn't bad enough as it is...

Sheesh. You do realize that the USA is a really, really big place, right? There are literally thousands of chocolate makers. I assume this insightful comment is based on sampling each and every one of them, right? (I know this is insightful because, after all, Slashdot moderated it so).

In other news, America makes great beer, wine, cheese, ice cream, meat, etc, etc, etc -- and also awful examples of the latter products, depending on the price you want to pay.

Re:Oh, great (1)

identity0 (77976) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850015)

Yeah, I was just thinking the other day when I bought some Japanese candy that one of the differences is the taste isn't as strongly sugary/oily as American chocolate. Japanese snacks in general tend to have a more darker chocolate than American ones, it seems.

Does anyone know about specific differences in nationl "chocolate standards"?

How Chocolate is made: (3, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849605)

From the CMA's How Chocolate is Made [chocolateusa.org] page:

The main ingredient used to make chocolate is cocoa beans.
Wonder if they're planning on changing that?

chocolate, chocolatey,...chocolateyeyeyeyey (4, Funny)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849733)

For chocolate thayt is true. Chocolatey only needs to somehow resemble chocolate. Add a few more -ey and you probably have something is vaguely brown. Perhaps recycled Zunes.

Re:How Chocolate is made: (2, Informative)

Raptoer (984438) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849927)

Not exactly, you take the cocoa liquor (obtained by fermenting the beans) and either press them or use the Broma process to separate out the butter and the powder. The FDA change would allow the substitution of vegetable oil for the cocoa butter which is added to the liquor (same stuff obtained from the beans) and therefore increases the amount of cocoa butter vs the amount of cocoa powder in the liquor.

The change would not be as significant as removing the cocoa liquor which is what makes chocolate... chocolate. The extra butter allows the chocolate to harden and become a solid, without it the chocolate is stuck melted.

milk chocolate would be further affected by the change with the whey protein vs the traditional milk. I don't really know what affects this would have on the chocolate, but I cannot imagine that it is good.

As for the vegetable oil change, I would not know how this would change the chocolate, but it is probably not very good either.

(for those interested, the Broma process is pretty much where they hang the ground beans from the ceiling in a warm room, the butter drips off the beans, it yields more butter than pressing)

Import (1, Informative)

radaway (741780) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849611)

I guess you guys better start buying chocolate from europe. Yours sucked anyway so it's all for the best.

Re:Import (1)

Sassinak (150422) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849703)

Ummm.. given that I already import a LOT of chocolate from Belgium and France and considering these "changes".. I wonder if I can deduct my import work on my taxes under "Medical Expenses"?

I mean goodness, just put a gun in every packet. This way its quicker.

Since We're Redefining Things... (1)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849719)

I guess you guys better start buying chocolate from europe. Yours sucked anyway so it's all for the best.


At least the weekly ration was increased to twenty grammes this week.

Good news however (2, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849647)

Once ethanol production drives up the cost of corn, perhaps we will start to see real sugar used instead of high-fructose corn syrup.

Re:Good news however (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849957)

Chocolate is almost always made with sugar rather than corn syrup. Even Hershey's wax is made with sugar. If you made chocolate with corn syrup, it would be goopy. The fructose/glucose combination doesn't make for a nice crystalline matrix with the cocoa crystals the way sucrose does.

I am really looking forward to having the Passover Coke all year long, however.

Re:Good news however (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850085)

The US Congress, with encouragement from the US sugar industry, instituted a quota on foreign sugar imports. The result is that sugar is twice as expensive in the US as in Canada or Mexico. Life Savers closed down an Illinois plant about 4 years ago and moved the facility to Canada for this very reason. I think Brach's now produces most of their candy in Mexico.

There is already crud in the chocolate. (4, Informative)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849651)

My name is Harmonious Botch and I'm a chocoholic. A fucking serious chocoholic. I figure I spend about 200 per month on it. Were I this hooked on booze or heroin, I'd be dead by now.

There is already crud in the chocolate. Any serious consumer of chocolate already knows to read the ingredients.
To write this post, I went to the trash can, pulled out a package of inferior quality candy that my wonderful but misguided wife had bought. I had thrown it away because of the crud in it. Under "ingredients", it says: "palm, shea, sunflower, and/or safflower oil". There is already whey protein in it also.

A little vegetable oil is not going to make a big difference. Over the last decade or two they have snuck palm oil in, and sometimes even wax, and most consumers didn't notice. Most of you won't notice the vegtable oil either, and those of us who do already read the labels.

Re:There is already crud in the chocolate. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18849809)

As a connoisseur (if you will), what would you recommend for a decent, but readily available, chocolate for the rest of us? Anything you'd be able to pick up at Duane Reade? I mean, assuming we'd be able to tell the difference, what with our crass proletariat palates :-P

buy local chocolate without the crud (3, Informative)

adelord (816991) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850173)

At Duane Reade? None.

If you were in England I would recommend a tasting at the L'Artisan du Chocolat factory in Ashford Kent. http://www.artisanduchocolat.com/ArtisanduChocolat Site/product/Chocolate%20tasting/TASTING.htm [artisanduchocolat.com]

Fine chocolate is an endangered species. Chocolate is increasingly a commodity at risk of standardisation, the same blend manufactured by a handful of large groups. In fact, fine chocolate is naturally very varied, determined by the type of tree, climate, fermentation, drying, roasting, conching and refining and the art of the chocolatier. Discover this diversity in our tutored tasting and atelier visit taking you on a journey from cocoa trees to beans, beans to bars and bars to boxed chocolates. The goal of our tasting is not to promote our brand but to enable you to evaluate the quality of chocolate and to recognise truly fine chocolate(s) from nicely-packaged and marketed fakes. Tastings run from 3pm to 5pm on specific Saturdays

Fine chocolate does not age well, does not travel well, and is wasted on an untutored pallet- just like fine wines, cheeses and scotch. There are many chocolatiers in New York, google for a factory-shop that does tastings.

Locally made, fresh, quality chocolate is something else. Hersey's is to Godvia as Godvia is to Michel Cluizel. There is a Michel Cluizel in NYC: http://www.chocolatmichelcluizel-na.com/about_us.a sp [chocolatmi...zel-na.com]

Chocolat Michel Cluizel's New York store is the first and only Michel Cluizel retail store outside of Paris, and the only retail location in North America for Michel Cluizel's entire line of fine chocolates. Located on the first floor of New York's legendary retailer, ABC Carpet & Home, in between three fine restaurants (Lucy Latin Kitchen, Pipa Tapas Bar and Le Pain Quotidien), we are pleased to bring New Yorkers some of the world's finest chocolate in an engaging and intimate environment. The store features a full selection of chocolate bars, a vast array of bonbons, intense hot and cold chocolate drinks, chocolate desserts. Chocolat Michel Cluizel is the first fine chocolate store in New York to hold a full liquor license; we not only serve fine bonbons that contain liquor, but we are pleased to pair fine porto, brandy, scotch, champagne, cognac and wine with our exceptional chocolates and chocolate drinks. Guided chocolate tasting sessions are held in the store throughout the week and by appointment.

Re:There is already crud in the chocolate. (5, Insightful)

Razed By TV (730353) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849841)

Over the last decade or two they have snuck palm oil in, and sometimes even wax, and most consumers didn't notice.
I noticed the wax. It's called Hershey's.

Re:There is already crud in the chocolate. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18849891)

Chocolate with vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter does have its uses. It's much easier to shape for decorative purposes. Well, maybe just that one use.

Re:There is already crud in the chocolate. (3, Insightful)

espressojim (224775) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849967)

Some of us refuse to go lower than Valrhona, usually in the 60-70% cocoa, with Dark Chocolate Noir Orange 64% Cocoa being our favorite (purchased in 1/2 lb bars.)

Why eat shitty chocolate when you can have good stuff? My SO finds that if we buy crappy chocolate, she just eats more of it and isn't satisfied. Good chocolate like the above satisfies her in an ounce or two (or three) serving size, so she eats less and enjoys more.

Re:There is already crud in the chocolate. (1)

thestuckmud (955767) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850023)

Hear, Hear! I expect most "chocolate" candy bars to be junk, so I was excited to find apparently high-end chocolates - Ghirardelli's Intense Dark and Hershey's Cacao Reserve - on sale at my local 7-11. I bought one bar that claimed to be dark chocolate and found it to be inedible (and yes, I read the label and decided to try it despite the inclusion of milk fat). Blech.

It looks to me like this is all about marketing, rather than chocolate, and my opinion of both companies has dropped.

Re: There is already crud in the chocolate. (5, Interesting)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850143)

Also, among the already mentioned items, there is a lot of pesticides in it:

News Flash! Source: AllAfrica News (West Africa Business)

"Cocoa Production, Employment, Shot Up By Mass Spraying - Jun 12 2003 Available data convincingly proves that Ghana's Cocoa Diseases and Pests Control project (CODAPEC), commonly known as the Mass Spraying Exercise, has tremendously improved the yield of cocoa, which remains one of the most important foreign exchange earners."1

[P]esticide residues routinely turn up in chocolate products sold in the USA5 and Europe.6 For as long as the leaders in the chocolate industry refuse to acknowledge that a pesticide problem exists, we have no hope of finding (or even looking for) a realistic solution to that problem.

see: http://www.tava.com.au/article_chemicals.html [tava.com.au]

I first ran into this in the book Diet for a Poisoned Planet. Peanuts and Chocolate were among the most contaminated foods in the American diet. Chocolate was high because it is imported from a lot of countries that do not have as tough of laws as we do (and ironically, they buy a lot of the chemicals from us!).

transporter_ii

I'm Like A Chocoholic, But For Booze (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18849695)

Did you ever know a "chocoholic"? One of those folks who just can't get enough chocolate? I bet there's at least one in your home or workplace. At my house, it's my wife Emily. She's got to have her little bowl of Hershey's Kisses in the living room. She can't go shopping without bringing home some chocolate ice cream or a chocolate-cake mix. She's even got a funny little sweatshirt that says, "My Name Is Emily, And I'm A Chocoholic."

To be honest, I'm a bit of a chocoholic myself. Except for one small detail. You see, instead of being addicted to chocolate, I'm addicted to booze. Yep, from dawn to dusk, there's one thing on my mind: booze! Beer, liquor, wine, all that stuff!

When my wife gets one of her cravings, she reaches for a Baby Ruth or Mars bar. With me, it's Icehouse beer. My refrigerator is always stocked with plenty of it. I also have a little flask of whiskey in my desk drawer at work. In fact, if you can keep a secret, I even keep some booze in my car in case of traffic jams. I just can't stand to be without booze for too long!

I'm a lot like that Cookie Monster on Sesame Street. Only it's more like the Booze Monster. When I walk into a party and see that they have booze of any kind, it's like, "Whoa-hoa! All bets are off! Lemme at that booze!"

I remember this one time, there was no chocolate in the house. Emily was going out of her mind, trying to scrape up some sort of chocolate fix. In the end, she resorted to drinking a cup of hot cocoa. It was so cute! Sort of like the time I drank all her hairspray because there was no booze in the house. Or that other time with the rubbing alcohol. Or the Nyquil. Or the Aqua-Velva.

Another time, I was completely out of booze, and all the stores and bars were closed, so I drove 45 minutes to find a place that would sell me some beer or something. I was kind of embarrassed, because here it was late Monday night, and I had to work the next day, and I'm driving around looking for booze. But, hey, that's just how things are when you're a "booze-oholic" like me! I finally found a huge all-night liquor store. You should have seen how I loaded up! Cases of this, fifths of that. It was 5 a.m. when I finally got home, so I just said, "To heck with work!" and had my own little improvised holiday. I called it Booze Day! I'd been working hard, getting to work on time almost every day for two weeks, so I figured I'd earned what wound up being the rest of the week off.

Sometimes Emily and I think we should cut down a little-you know, health concerns and all. But there's always some special occasion that gives us an excuse to go off our "diets." Halloween was Emily's last big bender. We only got three trick-or-treaters the entire night, so the whole big bowl of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups went straight to her. (Or straight to her thighs, as she said!)

My most recent bender was today. There was a good movie on TV, and I figured, hey, I'll need steady hands to change the volume. Of course, it all went straight to my liver, but what are you gonna do?

For my birthday, Emily gave me the funniest coffee mug, perfect for Irish coffee. It has a little teddy bear on it with a "don't mess with me" look on his face, and it says, "Hand Over The Booze And Nobody Gets Hurt." I laughed so hard! That bear was just like me when I robbed the party store earlier this year! Also, the mug is really big, so it can hold a lot of booze... another plus!

Yes, those chocoholics are a funny sort. But they won't hurt you-as long as they have their chocolate, that is. Or, in my case, booze!

- lifted from The Onion

FDA "accepting" comments (4, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849749)

The FDA is taking consumer comments until April 25.

After which time they will toss them out and make a re$pon$ible deci$ion.

Um, okay... (-1, Troll)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849767)

Why is this posted to Slashdot? Talk about off-topic.

Re:Um, okay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18849805)

So this means the Feds found Osama Bin Ladin? And our food supply is safe from terrorists? Fuck the contents of a chocolate bar. Our national priorities are seriously out of order.

Re:Um, okay... (1)

MinutiaeMan (681498) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849899)

Yeah, really! We need to send every single damn lazy chemist and nutritionist down at the FDA out to Afghanistan... that'll be sure to nab Osama! And don't forget the jerks down at the DMV, too! Maybe they could manage to get him run over during a driving test or something. *sighs, shakes head*

Re:Um, okay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18850053)

"Why is this posted to Slashdot? Talk about off-topic"

Chocolate contains caffeine. The rest is left as an exercise for the reader.

Re:Um, okay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18850137)

Chocolate contains caffeine, therefore very much on-topic.

FDA Attempt to Regulate Vitamins, Herbs as "Drugs" (0, Troll)

SpecialAgentXXX (623692) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849771)

It figures. Since this is /. an article on the FDA trying to regulate something healthy doesn't show up, but chocolate does. (This is a joke for the humor-impaired.)

Seriously, the FDA is Attempting to Regulate Supplements, Herbs and Juices as "Drugs" [organicconsumers.org]. This is very important. The Big Pharmaceutical corporations have been trying to get natural medicine banned for years. Instead of taking herbs, vitamins, minerals, and other natural and very inexpensive remedies, Big Pharma wants to drug everyone. Medical costs are already skyrocketing here in the US - we should have the freedom to choose whatever kind of treatment we want, not be forced into one choice: corporate drugs.

Chinese medicine (herbs, acupuncture, etc.) has been around for thousands of years. People have been curing themselves long before Big Pharma pushed all of their drugs on us. It absolutely upsets me that the FDA, another alphabet-soup agency, doesn't work for "we the people" but instead for the very top elite executives of Big Pharma.

Re:FDA Attempt to Regulate Vitamins, Herbs as "Dru (4, Insightful)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849825)

Chinese medicine (herbs, acupuncture, etc.) has been around for thousands of years. People have been curing themselves long before Big Pharma pushed all of their drugs on us.

Couple hundred years ago, draining blood was considered a cure for just about anything. Lets bring it back. Next time you have a headache, slit your wrists.

God, you "all natural" medicine freaks are about as bad as those Scientologist.

Re:FDA Attempt to Regulate Vitamins, Herbs as "Dru (4, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849889)

OK I slit my wrists and you were spot on, the headache went away almost immediately. However I have been unable to stem the bloodflow and now I feel quite weak and dizzy. Can you suggest something for this? Also if you have any tips for removing blood stains from carpets and keyboards I would very much appreciate it...

Re:FDA Attempt to Regulate Vitamins, Herbs as "Dru (1)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849951)

Can you suggest something for this?

Go for the jugular. If that fails, you're doomed to die.

Re:FDA Attempt to Regulate Vitamins, Herbs as "Dru (0, Troll)

SpecialAgentXXX (623692) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849953)

Couple hundred years ago, draining blood was considered a cure for just about anything. Lets bring it back. Next time you have a headache, slit your wrists. God, you "all natural" medicine freaks are about as bad as those Scientologist.
The point I'm making is that we Americans should have the freedom to choose what kind of health care we want. Not have Big Nanny Government (whose pockets are lined by Big Pharma) decide what is best for us.

Besides, it's already been shown that Big Pharma's drugs cause heart attacks: VIOXX was pulled, then later added back (with a stronger warning) after Merck complained it was losing to much $$$. The Chinese, and others, have been using herbs since recorded history. Their track record is substantially better than today's drugs. Look at all of the commerials: Warning! Do not take if you suffer from high blood pressure, constipation, irritation, etc., etc., etc. May cause: nausea, drowsiness, upset stomach, etc., etc. Severe side-effects may include: liver damage, kidney damage, stroke, and in some cases death. What are the warnings on herbs and vitamins? None! If you take too much the most you'll get is a tummyache. Evolution did not happen overnight. Man (and animals) evolved with the environment which included herbs. These genetically-engineered drugs completely take evolution out of the picture. It's no surprise there are all of these negative side-effects. We're f'ing with Mother Nature.

Re:FDA Attempt to Regulate Vitamins, Herbs as "Dru (1)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850069)

The point I'm making is that we Americans should have the freedom to choose what kind of health care we want.

No one forces you to use drugs. Having alternative cures fall under the same regulations as drugs wouldn't deter the use of them.

By the way, you're not really making that point. If you were, you'd have shut up there, but you didn't. You droned on about the wonders of alternative cures, which means I must rebutte that too.

The Chinese, and others, have been using herbs since recorded history.

That doesn't mean they work.

What are the warnings on herbs and vitamins? None!

Um, yeah, because, ya know, the FDA isn't regulating it.

We're f'ing with Mother Nature.

Our ability to fuck with mother nature is what separates us from the animals. It's why we are Earth's supreme overlords. Earth is our bitch.

GM corn shows kidney, liver toxicity in animals (1, Troll)

SpecialAgentXXX (623692) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850169)

Our ability to fuck with mother nature is what separates us from the animals. It's why we are Earth's supreme overlords. Earth is our bitch.
Yeah, and look at the damage we are causing by f'ing with Mother Nature, in this case with genetically modified corn: Monsanto's GM corn MON863 shows kidney, liver toxicity in animal studies [newstarget.com]

And then just take a look at the environmental damage we are doing to Earth. We are just like every other animal on Earth. As we overshoot our planet's carrying-capacity, Mother Nature will "cull the herd."

Re:FDA Attempt to Regulate Vitamins, Herbs as "Dru (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850149)

China was a bit ahead of renasaunce europe in the area of herbal medicine and practical cures.

Re:FDA Attempt to Regulate Vitamins, Herbs as "Dru (5, Insightful)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849915)

This is very important. The Big Pharmaceutical corporations have been trying to get natural medicine banned for years. Instead of taking herbs, vitamins, minerals, and other natural and very inexpensive remedies, Big Pharma wants to drug everyone.

You can mix dandelions and dog spit in a jar and sell it as a cure for baldness and impotence as long as you put a tiny thing on the bottom of the screen that says it's not intended to treat or diagnose anything. 95% of the herbal medicine market is an obvious scam. Thank God they're finally trying to do something about it. It drives me crazy watching those damn commercials. If I want a placebo for my erectile dysfunction, I'll eat a bull penis like anyone sensible would.

Re:FDA Attempt to Regulate Vitamins, Herbs as "Dru (1)

espressojim (224775) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849989)

If I had mod points, they would be yours.

The reason herbal drugs aren't classified as true "drugs" is because nobody's done double-blind studies to prove their efficacy. If they did, then you'd KNOW these herbal treatments were crap, instead of just suspecting it.

Re:FDA Attempt to Regulate Vitamins, Herbs as "Dru (1)

SpecialAgentXXX (623692) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850029)

The same can be said of Big Pharma's drug push. Again, look at VIOXX. Nowhere in the marketing did it say there's a chance you can get a heart attack.

I do not support false advertising. However, as long as there is a prominently displayed message saying, "The FDA / USDA has not verified these claims" or something to that effect, then it's fine. Again, my complaint is that we should have the freedom to choose. Hey, maybe those herbs are just all placebos, but if something thinks it helps them then more power to him. It is not the government's role to select our choices (or in this case limit our choice to a single one: Big Pharma). And if you don't like what you see on TV, then change the channel.

Re:FDA Attempt to Regulate Vitamins, Herbs as "Dru (1)

bane2571 (1024309) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850087)

The thing is that "herbs" can also have a huge narcotic effect, especially when grown in such a way that they absorb a lovely cocktail of chemicals from the hydro setup in the subtly concealed back yard greenhouse.

The fact is that when it comes to things you put in your body if it is potentially harmful it needs to be regulated so that you KNOW that what you are consuming contains what it says it does.

Herbal Medicine all laced with Pharma Medicine (2, Informative)

teethdood (867281) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850157)

An acquaintance of mine is a multi-millionaire herbal medicine "pharmacist." In order to get people trust his stuff, he would mix low volumes of various pharmaceutical drugs into his herbal medicine. His reasoning is that although the herbal medicine he prescribed would work over the long term, some of his patients want immediate relief of their symptoms. By mixing pharmaceutical drugs in with his herbal medicine, patients would get immediate results along with the long-term benefits (unproven) of herbal medicine. I would get real mad at this blatant fraudulent practice. Not only is he low-dosing his patients for prolonged periods which may have serious ill-effects, he's getting rich and famous for being an awesome herbal medicinist. His work is "proof" to his patients that herbal medicine works, but little did they know the real reason why they were feeling better.

As a dentist who is trained in pharmacology and who doesn't stand to benefit from pharma money, I would fully support the FDA regulating the wild wild west that is herbal medicine. FWIW I'm Asian and I grew up in an herbal culture.

High End American Chocolate Is Actually Excellent (1)

xelph (542741) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849813)

... and I have been exposed, for many years in France, to some of the best chocolate on the planet. For example, try Recchiuti in San Francisco, but there are others. As for Hershey's, well... no offense but I would not call that chocolate.

Re:High End American Chocolate Is Actually Excelle (1)

Chimera512 (910750) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849943)

yeah, anyone who tells you Hershey's is good chocolate is clearly an uncultured idiot who could be fed brown wax and told it was "super chocolate" and would probably eat it right up. gah, terrible stuff. as others have said, Ghiradelli makes some pretty good chocolate for Americans. nice, dark high % coacco chocolate.

Re:High End American Chocolate Is Actually Excelle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18850001)

As for Hershey's, well... no offense but I would not call that chocolate.
Well Hershey's "Kisses" are shaped like little turds for a reason

As long as the Swiss and the Belgians (3, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849817)

Dont follow this path I dont care what the US does, M&Ms were about the only edible chocolate there anyway.

Damn you Slashdot and your chocolate stories, I now have a huge craving for a big box of Leonidas.

Re:As long as the Swiss and the Belgians (2, Insightful)

Donniedarkness (895066) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850045)

I'd hardly call M&M's "edible". And yeah, now I have the craving for a nice big box of Leonidas. I was actually only esposed to them this last Valentine's Day, when I bought the honey a couple lbs of it. Amazing stuff; I can't stand to eat American "chocolate" anymore.

Government Redefinition (1)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849849)

Well the last president redefined sex, I guess the FDA can do whatever it wants too also.

As someone pointed out most US chocolate is inferior.

However there are exceptions....

Dove's dark chocolate bars are good.

Also recently encountered this: Cowgirl Chocolate [idahogourmet.com] made with of all things cayenne pepper. Not bad chocolate but the pepper actually overloads the taste buds and after a certain point the good chocolate taste is not detectable.

Who benefits? (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849857)

The people that benefit is not the consumer, it is the businesses that want to call their product 'chocolate' so once again, the US government is helping businesses, not the consumer

EU has much higher standards for chocolate (3, Informative)

msblack (191749) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849859)

US chocolate standards are the lowest in the world. US-FDA requires dark chocolate to contain 35% cocoa solids. EU standards require over 50%. If you want quality chocolate, get a 100g bar of Valrhona.



This is the same FDA that in spring 2006 bowed to industry pressure to change labeling requirements for carmine coloring. Look at a bottle of Listerine Citrus Burst. It has an ingredient called cochineal extract. Sounds kinda exotic like vanilla extract. FDA proposed labeling standard requiring manufacturers to say "cochineal extract (insect derived)" but food manufacturers argued that would turn off consumers so they deleted the insect derived portion. Cochineal extract is a red food coloring derived from crushing pregnant cochineal beetles. They also use it in Wonka (Nestle) Pixy Stix. This isn't for health reasons or flavor enhancement. Cochineal extract (insect derived) is used purely for aesthetic purposes. Just remember the next time you rinse with Listerine Citrus Burst that you're swishing crushed dead pregnant beetles in your mouth.


Re:EU has much higher standards for chocolate (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18849907)

not like cochineal hasn't been used for a millenia...its not going to hurt you

Re:EU has much higher standards for chocolate (5, Funny)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849969)

Just remember the next time you rinse with Listerine Citrus Burst that you're swishing crushed dead pregnant beetles in your mouth.

And every time you eat beef, that comes from cows! Those cute, fat horses!

Re:EU has much higher standards for chocolate (1)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850093)

Ever the cynic, the first thing I did when I read this was shake my head at yet another urban myth and then set out to educate myself (yeah, I know, even though this *is* /.). Lo and behold, what do I find but report after report (mostly peer-reviewed) of the allergic reactions that have been reported from cochineal extract. (Here's just one of several [inchem.org] I pulled up.)

And yes, it is in fact made from crushed female beetles. I suppose that part doesn't bother me as much as industry trying to hide the fact from consumers. (Remember all those Consumer Reports articles about insect parts and droppings in your canned food, like tuna and what not? Now it's legitimate!)

Re:EU has much higher standards for chocolate (2, Insightful)

smokeslikeapoet (598750) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850115)

It's not really the FDA's fault that Americans have an indiscriminating palette. I choose chocolate based on taste, not on labeling. I could really give a flying flip on what the FDA thinks chocolate is. I know what chocolate is. I'd as soon eat shoe leather as a Hershey bar. The problem here is that government thinks that this is a problem that government needs to solve. Your tax dollars at work people, arguing about what a chocolate bar is, while our national debt spirals out of control. Why is it that as a libertarian, I have to argue for the deregulation of the chocolate industry? What a sad, petty state our country has come to.

Real Chocolate: Scharffen Berger Bittersweet Dark (4, Insightful)

SpecialAgentXXX (623692) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849865)

I absolutely stay away from the Big Corporate chocolate: Hershey's, Cadbery's, etc. It's all shit. High Fructose Corn Syrup and other crap in there. Ever had fine, European chocolate? The taste and texture is so much better.

There is a healthy and damn tasteful alternative to "corporate chocolate": Scharffen Berger [scharffenberger.com] Bittersweet Fine Artisan Dark Chocolate. I buy the 70% and 100% Cacao bars. You can really taste the cacao beans in the 70% but it's not completely bitter. The 100% takes a bit getting used to but once you've enjoyed these high quality chocolates, the "corporate chocolate" tastes like the shit that it is. I buy these bars at Whole Foods Market [wholefoodsmarket.com].

Re:Real Chocolate: Scharffen Berger Bittersweet Da (1)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849937)

I suppose you will be surprised to find out that Scharffen Berger is a division of Hershey's "Big Corporate" empire.

Re:Real Chocolate: Scharffen Berger Bittersweet Da (1)

SpecialAgentXXX (623692) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849983)

Not according to their website's Our History [scharffenberger.com] page. "Copyright© 2006 Artisan Confections Company" I can't find a reference of Hershey.

Re:Real Chocolate: Scharffen Berger Bittersweet Da (4, Informative)

kilonad (157396) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850057)

Hershey owns both Scharffen Berger and Joseph Schmidt chocolates, but has thankfully let them continue their good work.

http://www.thehersheycompany.com/news/release.asp? releaseID=743393 [thehersheycompany.com]

Re:Real Chocolate: Scharffen Berger Bittersweet Da (1)

SpecialAgentXXX (623692) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850097)

but has thankfully let them continue their good work.
I'm glad to hear that. I did not know that Hershey's bought out Scharffen Berger. However, I do stand by my original statement that Hershey's chocolate (i.e. not their recently acquired high-end chocolate companies) is shit.

This... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18849867)

This is exactly what Dave Barry wrote about in the book Dave Barry Hits Below the Beltway: A Vicious and Unprovoked on Our Nation's Most Cherished Political Institutions. Don't people listen to satirists anymore?

For those who haven't read the book, the message is: WHO FUCKING CARES? IS THIS REALLY WHAT YOU IMAGINE YOUR TAX MONEY SHOULD BE PAYING FOR? DO YOU STILL WONDER WHY THE GOVERNMENT IS SO FUCKING HUGE??

Re:This... (5, Insightful)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850013)

For those who haven't read the book, the message is: WHO FUCKING CARES? IS THIS REALLY WHAT YOU IMAGINE YOUR TAX MONEY SHOULD BE PAYING FOR?

Abso-fricking-lutely. When I buy chocolate, I want to know that if someone wraps dog feces in aluminum foil, they can't say, "No, that's what we call chocolate. No refunds, you already ate three-quarters of it." Enforced accurate labeling and definitions is absolutely what I want the government to be doing.

America-Ankh-Morpork (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18849921)

'Wienrich and Boettcher were, naturally, foreigners, and according to Ankh-Morpork's Guild of Confectioners, they did not understand the peculiarities of the city's taste buds. Ankh-Morpork people, said the guild, were hearty, no-nonsense folk who did not _want_ chocolate that was stuffed with cocoa liquor and were certainly not like effete la-di-dah foreigners who wanted cream in everything. In fact, they actually _preferred_ chocolate made mostly from milk, sugar, suet, hooves, lips, miscellaneous squeezings, rat droppings, plaster, flies, tallow, bits of tree, hair, lint, spiders, and powdered cocoa husks. This meant that, according to the food standards of the great chocolate centers in Borogravia and Quirm, Anka-Morpork chocolate was formally classed as "cheese" and only escaped, through being the wrong color, being defined as "tile grout."'
--Terry Pratchett, Thief of Time

File a comment against it if you like chocolate... (2, Insightful)

draziw (7737) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849923)

It's really a bad quality product change if it is allowed. People that want to make/buy a chocolate substitute, can do that /now/ without calling it chocolate; They can market a chocolate flavored snack without calling it chocolate... People who really want the good stuff, shouldn't end up with 'chocolate flavored' items...

--
+1 for low user id

FDA summary report (4, Informative)

AhtirTano (638534) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849925)

There is a reason the FDA's summary is so vague---the proposal isn't about chocolate. Well, not just about chocolate. The proposal is supported by a substantial range of food manufacturer's and distributors, touching on chocolate, meat, poultry, frozen food, and more.

The proposed changes affect divergences from standard labeling guidelines for a lot of reasons, including things like "improvements in nutritional properties", "use of safe suitable flavors and flavor enhancers", "alternate manufacturing processes", etc.

You can read the whole thing yourself (pdf warning) here [fda.gov]. See especially the last 4 pages or so.

Is the change in guidelines a good thing for consumers? I don't know. I don't know enough about food manufacturing to judge.

OK, that does it! (5, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849929)

REVOLUTION!!!!!!

First they came for my fats, and I said nothing. Then they came for my carbs, and I said nothing. Then they came for my sugars, and I said nothing.

But NOT MY FUCKING CHOCOLATE!

(insert Star Spangled Banner here)

One nation. One struggle. One destiny.

I had a dream! A chocolatey dream!

Social Conscience Warning (1, Interesting)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849931)

Cocoa, like diamonds and coffee are made using exploited labour in poverty riven areas of the world.

This seems like a possible solution, or free trade chocolate.

Nestle in particular is a nasty piece of work. They have a program that gives 2 months of baby formula to new mothers in Africa (long enough for their mamaries to stop producing milk) and then charge them exorbidant rates for the next 9-10 months of formula they will need, and their formula has serious health risks.

I know it sucks, I love chocolate too but ignoring it won't make it go away.

My Comment To The FDA (1)

cmholm (69081) | more than 6 years ago | (#18849995)

I went ahead and spent a couple of minutes putting in my two cents with the FDA. I surfed using Firefox 2.0.0.3 on a Mac. The FDA's server told me I "must" use Safari. I decided to test their rationale, and continued with Firefox. I was asked for my name, zip, under what category I was commenting (a consumer). I was asked to enter up to 3000 characters in a comment box, where I entered the following:

As it stands, lower quality "real chocolate" products contain a low percentage of cocoa butter and whole milk powder. If you allow manufacturers of chocolate products to completely dispense with cocoa butter and whole milk powder in the interest of economy, this will tend to drag most chocolate products down that path (the "Walmart" effect). If manufacturers don't want to use any cocoa butter or whole milk power in a product, that's fine, but I don't feel they should be allowed to call it "chocolate" any more than oleo products are called "butter".

I clicked the 'continue' box, and was offered the chance to add an attachment. Hopefully, this is where high end chocolate vendors offer a more nuanced take on the proposal. One more 'continue' box, then exit, which dumped me to the FDA's home page.

America, 2007 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18850061)

War is Peace.

Freedom is Slavery.

Chocolate is Vegetable Oil.

In Their Own Words (1)

skywire (469351) | more than 6 years ago | (#18850081)

The Chocolate Manufacturers Association (misnamed in the story) has on their website a December 2006 press release entitled "CHOOSING A CHOCOLATE THAT'S RIGHT FOR YOU: Definitions from the Chocolate Manufacturers Association Help Consumers Understand the Growing Language of Chocolate". It offers this definition of cocoa butter:

Cocoa Butter - The fat naturally present in cacao beans that melts at body temperature and gives chocolate its unique mouth feel. The amount of cocoa butter in cacao beans typically ranges from 50 to 60%.

Well, changing the definition would mean ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18850127)

We could raise the chocolate ration to 20 grammes, and/or enable more resources to be devoted to the war against Eurasia.

Or was it Eastasia [wikipedia.org]? I keep forgetting which it was.

Let's redefine FDA (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18850175)

I remember the good old days when FDA labeling rules gave me some minimal confidence about the contents of a product.

No more; it's time to change the acronym's meaning. "fraudulent descriptions administration" comes to mind.
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