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First, They Came For The Chocolate

We've all noticed that mass-produced chocolate candy doesn't taste the same anymore.
First, They Came For The Chocolate
Image from: silv3rglee

No one in power even pretends to care much about the quality of our food supply anymore. Back in 2007, Hershey and Archer Daniels Midland lobbied the FDA to permit them to change the essential ingredients and substitute chocolate flavoring, yet still label candy "chocolate." I can't find any record that they passed it, but I do recall reading that it was, because I've always said it was one more thing we could pin on the Bush administration.

So who knows? Did they pass it, or did the manufacturers take matters into their own hands and dared the FDA to shut them down? I just know that mass-produced chocolate in America now tastes like crap (sample any Halloween candy lately?). If you read candy bar wrappers carefully, you will find they no longer describe "milk chocolate" -- instead, they're "chocolatey"!

The one chocolate bar I did like was Cadbury's. Oh well!

As a result of a settlement with the Hershey’s Company, Let’s Buy British Imports, or L.B.B., agreed this week to stop importing all Cadbury’s chocolate made overseas. The company also agreed to halt imports on KitKat bars made in Britain; Toffee Crisps, which, because of their orange packaging, and yellow-lined brown script, too closely resemble Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups; Yorkie chocolate bars, which infringe on the York peppermint patty; and Ms. Perry’s beloved Maltesers.

“Things in the world are bad enough as it is,” Ms. Perry said, “and now you’re going to take away our chocolate?”

Jeff Beckman, a representative for Hershey’s, said L.B.B. and others were importing products not intended for sale in the United States, infringing on its trademark and trade dress licensing. For example, Hershey’s has a licensing agreement to manufacture Cadbury’s chocolate in the United States with similar packaging used overseas, though with a different recipe.

“It is important for Hershey to protect its trademark rights and to prevent consumers from being confused or misled when they see a product name or product package that is confusingly similar to a Hershey name or trade dress,” Mr. Beckman said in an email.


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Consumers aren't being "misled." They know if they pay extra, they can get a quality product. I thnk Jeff Beckman is the one who's "confused."

What many Britons and British-chocolate lovers are most incensed about is the difference in taste between chocolate made in Britain and chocolate made in the United States.

Chocolate in Britain has a higher fat content; the first ingredient listed on a British Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (plain milk chocolate) is milk. In an American-made Cadbury’s bar, the first ingredient is sugar.

American Cadbury bars also include PGPR and soy lecithin, both emulsifiers that reduce the viscosity of chocolate, giving it a longer shelf life. British Cadbury bars used vegetable fats and different emulsifiers.

First of all, as someone who once upon a time used to be in the chocolate business, chocolate already has a long shelf life. It might get white on the top (what we call "bloom") but it's still perfectly safe and doesn't affect the taste. The ingredients they're using for American Cadbury candy not only affects the taste, it changes what we call the "mouth feel." It feels more like a mouthful of Crisco, and not the pure melting goodness of quality chocolate.

An informal blind taste test comparing Cadbury Dairy Milk bars — muddled by this reporter’s garlicky lunch — suggested that Ms. Perry had reason to be upset.

The British Dairy Milk was slightly fudgier, allowing for a creamier taste and texture. The American Dairy Milk bar left a less pleasing coating and somewhat of a stale aftertaste.

Another retailer of British goods, who wished to remain anonymous because she feared reprisal from Hershey’s, said she imagined she would go out of business soon.

“Cadbury’s is about half of my business,” she said, while eating leftover Cadbury’s Christmas chocolate, “and more than that at Christmas. I don’t know how we’ll survive.”

She said she tried to import chocolate herself, but it required dealing with the Food and Drug Administration, as well as customs and the country’s Department of Agriculture, which got to be very complicated.

And because Hershey’s is looking to stop the sale of all Cadbury’s chocolate and the other bars in the United States, it might not help her to import the chocolate herself.

So we have the might of the U.S. government being used to protect the rights of multinational corporations to maintain a monopoly to produce crap.

Freedom!

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