Los Angeles

In the News… Monday, June 25, 2007

† Fighting to Protect Chocolate: Today’s New York Timesfeatured an op-ed piece by Mort Rosenblum, author of Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light, regarding the proposal to change what constitutes “chocolate”:

In America, the Food and Drug Administration can act swiftly to change rules based on what it calls a citizen’s petition. Last year, “citizens” like the Grocery Manufacturers Association added new guidelines for chocolate onto an omnibus petition covering more than 200 foods that called for, among other things, altering food standards to “permit maximum flexibility in the food technology used to prepare the standardized food” and to allow “any alternative process that accomplishes the desired effect.”

This could have sweeping effects on food manufacturing overall; for chocolate in particular, the guidelines provide for no effective limit on how much cocoa butter can be substituted nor restrictions on what fats can be used. There is no attempt to mimic the real thing.

We started to spread the news earlier this spring, and Evan Kleiman interviewed Cybele May of candyblog.net on the May 19th episode of her KCRW radio program, “Good Food”: that program is available on the KCRW website. And don’t skip Rosenblum’s full article on the Times’ site. (Thanks to Arthur Greenwald of our San Fernando Valley convivium for the alert.)

† Carlo Petrini on epicurious.com: Slow Food’s fearless leader, Carlo Petrini, offers five ways “food lovers can join the culinary revolution in their own homes and communities.” These suggestions are expanded upon in Slow Food Nation, Petrini’s latest book and his most direct expression of how Slow Food members and friends can make a difference. If you’ve been on the fence about purchasing a copy of Slow Food Nation, the epicurious.com piece is a nice introduction to the book’s principles.

† What’s Happening to the Farm Bill?: Some days, we’re afraid to ask. But we do, and as is often the case, our friends who edit The Ethicurean have the answers, or links to the answers. From recent posts:
++ “Give us a new New Deal: If you have Farm-Bill-coverage fatigue, buck up with this excellent, essay-length post by Tom Philpott about how a serious supply-management policy on the part of the U.S. government could fix our broken food system, support farmers big and small, open world markets — and seriously piss off Big Agribiz by taking their monopolistic power back away.”
++ Farm Bill Runs Aground? Read the Ethicurean update (with links about the legislative debates and the real life consequences of Farm Bill provisions).
++ Today’s Ethicurean digest, featuring information on a potential Farm Bill solution as well as troubling news about the consequences of pumping pigs full of antibiotics.