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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Meaning of Chocolate

Changing the definitions of words is one approach to cultural subterfuge. Today, the meaning of something dear to millions is at stake.

Mars Inc. (makers of M&Ms, Snickers, Dove, Milky Way, etc.) is opposing a push led by Hershey's and other food-makers for the FDA to change long-established federal standards for what can be called chocolate. The request is to allow the substitution of a portion of cocoa butter with another vegetable fat and milk protein. Advocates claim the change would save money for manufacturers and allow more flexibility and innovation, in exchange for still being able to label the new products "chocolate." Manufacturers already can use vegetable fats instead of cocoa butter, but they are not allowed by the FDA to call it chocolate; The EU allows a substitution of up to 5%. Mars has pledged to not dilute the quality of its chocolate, according to Tom Lachman, president of Mars Snackfoods US:
Changing the definition of what chocolate is would be a mistake. The bottom line is that we're not going to change our chocolate. Today, Mars US chocolate products are pure, authentic chocolate and they're going to stay that way."
So, on behalf of the Troglodytrix and other chocolate lovers, on behalf of those for whom words mean things, I say to Mars (with apologies to Tolkien's memory):
Hold your ground, hold your ground! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of woes and shattered shields, when the age of chocolate comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day, fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you STAND, MEN OF CHOCOLATE!

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