As a large -- and timid -- chocolate bunny stares at me from its bed of Easter grass, waiting for the moment in which I bite its little ears off, I'm thinking about a proposal put forth to the FDA.
That chocolate bunny -- tall, dark, and handsome; sweet, smooth, and decadent -- might next year have an inferior replacement. The Chocolate Manufacturers of America (CMA) in collaboration with the Grocery Manufacturers Association have petitioned the FDA to change the definition of chocolate, so that products made with milk substitutes and without cocoa butter can be sold under the label of "chocolate." Why? So the manufacturers can save money by selling cheap crap. (Check out the specific proposed changes.)
People, GREEDY CAPITALISTS ARE ATTACKING CHOCOLATE! (Nooooooooooooooooo!)
Now, if you're thinking "So what?" I want you to do a little experiment. Go down to your local grocery or drug store and pick up the cheapest, crappiest "mocklate" you can find (I'd recommend that Palmer Bunny Munny that are on sale right now).
Take a bite. Roll it around in your mouth. Maybe you're not going to spit it out (though you should) but obviously it's nowhere near as good as real chocolate. (You might want to eat a whole box of good chocolate just to make sure.)
OK, now here's the scary part: if this petition passes and the FDA reclassifies chocolate, the Palmer stuff -- and confections WORSE than Palmer, made with less care and quality -- could flood the market and still be called chocolate.
The big manufacturers might start producing your favorite candies with mocklate! Can you imagine the Hershey tinkering with the kiss? Mars screwing with the M&M? It could happen!
If I were Charlton Heston, I'd be running through the streets screaming, "Chocolate is vegetable oil and milk substitutes!"
But we can stop this dystopic future. All you have to do is send a comment to the FDA telling them not to mess with chocolate. Do it by the deadline of June 25, 2007. To make it even easier, DontMessWithOurChocolate.com guides you through the process, even providing you with a letter you can cut-and-paste into the FDA's comment box (but you should feel free to write your own letter).
Really: it only takes a moment and it's as simple as pie -- a delicious slice of chocolate cream pie, made with genuine chocolate.
Read more about this issue here and here.