DARK
CHOCOLATE
DARK CHOCOLATE AND FOOD ALLERGENS

In chocolate, more cocoa means higher antioxidant capacity. Chocolate and cocoa powder are derived from cocoa beans that contain hefty quantities of natural antioxidants called flavonoids. Researchers found natural cocoa contains the highest capacity of the antioxidant procyanidin. Antioxidants are thought to be effective in helping to prevent cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

However, if you’re allergic to milk and you love dark chocolate, how do you know whether you can indulge in a dark chocolate bar without having an allergic reaction?

Milk is a permitted ingredient in dark chocolate, but it is also one of eight major food allergens (substances that can cause reactions that are sometimes dangerous).

U.S. law requires manufacturers to label food products that are major allergens, as well as food products that contain major allergenic ingredients or proteins.

The eight major food allergens are

  • milk
  • eggs
  • fish
  • crustacean shellfish
  • tree nuts
  • peanuts
  • wheat
  • soybeans
CHOCOLATE LABELING

Chocolates are one of the most common sources of undeclared milk associated with allergic reactions.

Milk can get into a dark chocolate product even when it is not intentionally added as an ingredient, because most dark chocolate is produced on equipment that is also used to produce milk chocolate.

Milk may either be included in the ingredient list or in a statement such as “Contains milk.”

To help ensure this, the Food Allergen Labelling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) was passed in the U.S. in 2004.

Allergen statements such as “May contain milk,” or “Manufactured on equipment that processes products containing milk,” suggest there may be milk present.

The manufacturer’s, packer or distributer’s name, address and a contact telephone number must be on the packaging.

CHOCOLATE LABEL REVIEW

Labeling of a food product is deemed to be misleading if it fails to reveal material facts.

  • Unlike drugs, supplements or conventional foods are not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent, or cure diseases.
  • The Nutrition Facts label is required on most packaged conventional foods and beverages.
  • Allergen Statement is required.
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