People who do not love chocolates are rare or let’s say abstracts! It’s one of the most popular snack food, everyone loves chocolates, especially in today’s world where we get a wide range of fancy and delicious chocolates. It has become a part of every celebration as we gift chocolates to our friends and relatives. But are these chocolates made of pure chocolate? Or are we eating contaminated chocolates? Ever gave it a thought?
Beware of eating contaminated chocolates
Adulteration in chocolates has a long history and since they are a very popular food item, they have been adulterated by unscrupulous manufacturers for profits for centuries. It is one of the most fasted growing markets in India. Branded as well as homemade chocolates are adulterated in one way or the other.
Cocoa is the key ingredient of chocolate, chocolates cannot be manufactured alone with cocoa, therefore, few metals are allowed to be mixed with cocoa. As per the Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins, and Residues) Regulations, 2011, the maximum permissible levels of these heavy metals in cocoa powder are, Lead: 5.0 ppm by weight, on the dry fat-free substance, Copper: 70 ppm by weight on the fat-free substance.
But chocolate manufacturing companies often go above the permissible level of metals. Lead can cause serious health hazards.
Homemade chocolate contamination
Chocolates are manufactured at home based industries on a large scale. They’re obviously not as healthy as that of leading chocolate companies. Some home based industries do not even own a legal license hence hygiene is battered. Bacterial contamination is a very common phenomenon in this case.
Cocoa beans, nuts, and other ingredients can be contaminated by insects, rodents, and mycotoxins unless stored properly. If the machinery is not cleaned and washed thoroughly and sanitized it could lead to infestation by insects or microbial contamination.
Contamination with insect and rodent filth can sometimes be a problem, especially during storage and transportation of the raw materials such as cocoa powder.
As we all know, cocoa is the key ingredient of chocolate hence it is subjected to various processes. When cocoa is dried there is a significant decline in its volume, therefore, the manufacture mix cocoa shell powder, hazelnut shell powder or soya flour into cocoa powder to add volume.
Modern cocoa processing causes this iron contamination because of the grinding tools of the hammer, agitator blades and ball fillings which make up the rotating ball cocoa mills. Though the iron is removed with the help of magnet separators yet iron can remain in the cocoa powder which contaminates products made from cocoa including cocoa powder and chocolates.
- Using inferior quality sugar for manufacturing chocolates.
- Adding minerals to increase the weight of the chocolates.
- Adding starch during manufacture of chocolates to add some more weight.
- Using non-permitted artificial colouring which makes chocolates attractive.
Chocolate contamination has indeed become a serious problem as it is consumed by a majority of the population especially children. Health is the very first priority, therefore, there must be some serious implications in the chocolate manufacturing industries. They must maintain high standards of quality.