Pinto defense: Ferrero guarantees safety of chocolate bars based on government inspection

Ferrero clarified that its chocolate bars are safe, adding that the German government has not recalled its products from the country’s store shelves, an article from local news portal reported.

pinto,explodingIn a statement posted on its website on July 12, the firm further guaranteed that they have met all the needed food safety requirements in the countries where they exported their products.

On July 5, U.K. media outlet Daily Mail reported that Germany’s Foodwatch has found out that its Kinder Riegel chocolate bars contain high levels of mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons. This component is a byproduct of the oil refining process.

The newspaper cited that the issue has led to the recalling of the bars, as the European Food Safety Agency also commented that the product “may be carcinogenic.” further reported that Foodwatch member Johannes Heeg has recommended consumers to avoid purchasing these products.

Asked about the said mineral found, Ferrero shared that minimal traces of such oil do exist almost anywhere.

From the Salmonella in low moisture foods file: Aldi recalls Choceur Treasures chocolate

Last weekend I taught Jack and Sam about Salmonella contamination in low moisture foods like chocolate – through the somewhat creepy Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Early on in the golden ticket winners visit, Augustus Gloop (which is also a decent band name) falls into the factory’s open chocolate river. Knowing that Salmonella is hearty, especially when stressed in a low moisture environment, and that the chocolate didn’t have a post-river kill step, Wonka yells ‘ You are dirtying my chocolate!’.10881542_733085970120889_7656214917050489571_n

In related news, a UK retailer, Aldi, is according to The Telegraph, recalling chocolate due to Salmonella contamination.

Aldi, the discount supermarket, is recalling packs of chocolate after salmonella was detected in a batch. The Food Standards Agency has issued a product recall notice for 200g Choceur Treasures with a best before date of Sept 1. The bacteria was found in a batch of the product that has been on sale in Aldi stores in the Midlands region. The chocolates – a whole hazelnut wrapped in waffle and milk chocolate – at the centre of the scare have been on sale in around 100 stores. Locations if shops include Birmingham, Worcester, Leicester, Derby, Nottingham, Wolverhampton, Coventry and Grantham.

Maybe someone fell into their chocolate river.

A chocolate toilet? A $133,000 bathroom suite made out of Belgian chocolate

When I think chocolate toilet, I’m thinking of some 50-something digestive issue that explodes way too fast., a bathroom furniture retail site, and U.K.-based chocolatiers Choccywoccydoodah have gotten together to create a bathroom furnished with Belgian chocolate. The set is being advertised on, a site Chief Executive Ian Monk decided to create after seeing people frequently mispell suite as sweet.

“We realized that over a million British people searching for new bathrooms were popping ‘bathroom sweets,’ rather than ‘bathroom suites’ into their preferred search engines,” said Monk in a statement on “The simple mistake caught our imagination, what if we created a bathroom suite, out of something sweet?”

The Maderno Sweet bathroom set includes a 210,000-calorie chocolate bidet, a 210,000-calorie chocolate sink, an 8 million-calorie chocolate tub and a 980,000-calorie chocolate toilet. The entire set has 9.4 million calories and is listed for sale on the site for $133,040. Or you can purchase the pieces individually. Everything is made fresh, so you can expect a two- to three-month wait time.

eaten, can be kept at room temperature for years. And you can add a layer of varnish if you’d like to preserve your sweet suite even longer.

Add air and water, charge more; food processing explained

Stephen Colbert finally figured out what a smart food science professor told me 20 years ago: food processing is all about adding air and water and charging more.

As Colbert said Monday night, “I always try to eat locally, in that if something’s within arm’s reach, I jam it in my mouth.

“This is thought for food.

“As commodity prices soar, candy makers are adding air to recipes.”

When wasn’t air added to recipes?

“Air. The same thing that makes tires delicious.”

“Adding air pockets offers a better mouth experience.”
Paul Pruett

“Mouth experience is also the name of the very worst ride at Epcot”

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Thought for Food – Chocolate Air, Denny’s & Bacon Cologne
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Antenna in your mocha latte?

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a list of Food Action Defect Levels in the Code of Federal Regulations "to establish maximum levels of natural or unavoidable defects in foods for human use that present no health hazard."

A local news station in Michigan got hold of this list and started asking people on the street how they felt about the number of bug parts allowed in their coffee and the amount of rodent "excreta" tolerated in their chocolate.

My local news station in Wichita, Kansas, broadcast their story Tuesday while I shook my head and chuckled. There were a lot of interesting faces as people looked from their cup to the list and back again.

In the end, I got the impression that the public is okay with a few bug parts (and laugh about getting the extra protein), but won’t stand for the poop.

We here at continually advocate keeping as much poop out of food as possible, and proudly wear our t-shirts that declare, "don’t eat poop" with a message about handwashing on the back.

But I’m not crazy. I realize, like the FDA (not the USDA, as asserted in the story, which primarily regulates only meat and poultry products), that it’s virtually impossible to keep the entire (non-meat and -poultry) food supply 100% poop-free. Therefore, I’m glad there are regulations in place to reduce the microbial risks associated with that poop. (The poop that got into the peanuts at the Peanut Corp. of America plant violated those regs.)

I’m just saying… some poop happens. Risks that cannot be eliminated can, and should, be controlled. Responsible, informed producers and consumers do this every day with tools like the FDA Defect Action Level Handbook and tip-sensitive digital meat thermometers.

Do your part: wash your hands and stick it in.

Valentines Day – Give love, not Salmonella

I love Valentine’s Day. It’s not that I’m a romantic, but that most years it was an excuse to get drunk, and last year a dude even ran through my Calculus class in nothing but a diaper and wings. Valentine’s Day is always a hoot.

This year I’ve spent time in candy aisles rather than calculus lectures, scanning for recalled Valentine’s chocolate linked to the current Salmonella outbreak. As I wrote in bites,

    With over 600 ill and 9 deaths linked to peanut paste produced by the Peanut Corp. of America, consumers may opt to give flowers rather than sweets on February 14. Of the 2000 peanut products recalled, over 670 contain chocolate. The popular peanut-chocolate combination is found in chocolate trays, bars, snack mixes, cookies, pies, and more, all examples of recalled products, and all popular Valentine’s gifts. 

The Walgreens pharmacy and Wal-Mart superstore in Manhattan, Kansas, both featured prominent Valentine’s Day displays during the past week. Aisle after aisle was stocked with pink and red packaged peanut-chocolate treats, but nowhere was there mention to the safety of these items. A concerned consumer wishing to purchase these must either scan the 68 pages of chocolate products recalled on the FDA website, or trust that potentially contaminated products have been removed from store shelves. But with the recall list growing daily, consumers may find it difficult to assume the chocolate-covered peanuts that are safe today won’t be added to the recall list tomorrow. 

Keith Warriner, a food microbiologist at the University of Guelph in Canada, explained last week via email, the concerns associated with Salmonella in chocolate products. “Because chocolate is high in fat it protects Salmonella from environmental stress and stomach acid,” said Dr. Warriner. “So in effect, if chocolate does become contaminated, Salmonella survives longer and only needs to be present in low numbers to survive passage through the stomach.”

Chocolate is a not uncommon vector for Salmonella. In 2006 both Cadbury and Hershey brand chocolate products were associated with separate Salmonella contamination. Cadbury recalled over 1 million chocolate bars in the UK after more than 40 consumers were sickened, and 3 were hospitalized due to Salmonella contamination from poor plant sanitation. A few months later, Hershey Canada recalled candy products due to possible Salmonella contamination, and though there were no reported illnesses, some of this recalled Hershey product re-entered the marketplace two years later.

Though I didn’t see any of the recalled products while shopping, it’s hard to be certain none were missed with over 670 products being recalled. I also didn’t see any signs informing consumers about the safety of the sweets in these aisles. If a store is confident recalled peanut-products have been removed from shelves, a way to help out consumers is putting up some signs in the aisles. 

Junk food banned from Gatineau hockey arenas; what’s next, a ban on fighting?

As a kid, my pre-game hockey ritual was to buy a Jersey Milk chocolate bar at the arena before going into the dressing room to get ready. I didn’t really know about sugar and caffeine, but it seemed to wake me up before the game. In drastic situations, a Dairy Milk would suffice.

So I was horrified to read that hockey arenas in Gatineau, Quebec, will no longer be allowed to stock pop, chips, chocolate bars or poutine (actually, I don’t care about the poutine; it’s gross).

The city of 242,000 has voted to cut junk food from hockey arena food stands within three years in an attempt by to reduce the trans fats in the diet of the Gatineau hockey fan.

Canteens will replace the snacks with spaghetti, sandwiches, muffins and sports drinks, but not pop.

Can I get some red wine to go with the spaghetti as I’m strolling into the dressing room? In Quebec, the answer is probably yes.

Chocolate body spread recalled by UK regulators

All you Brits shopping at Ann Summers sex shops — the UK’s leading adult toys & lingerie pleasure retailer — stay away from the chocolate body spread.

The U.K. Food Standards Agency said today
it found traces of melamine in the novelty chocolate spreads, which were manufactured in Zhongshan, China, and imported into the country by Scobie (Llarn) Ltd.

"We’ve never had to put out an alert before on (body spread) – chocolate-flavoured or otherwise," the agency said on its website.

In the name of science: women wanted to eat chocolate for a year

Scientists in the UK are seeking 150 women to eat chocolate every day for a year in the cause of medical research.

The trial, at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, eastern England, will test whether a natural compound found in cocoa, the main ingredient of chocolate, could cut the risk of heart disease among women with diabetes.

A Belgian confectionist has created the special chocolate bar containing high levels of flavonoids — a plant compound that has been shown to reduce heart risk factors — to be used in the experiment. Soy, another natural source of flavonoids, has also been added to the bar.

Participants, who must be postmenopausal women under the age of 70, will have their risk of heart disease tested on five occasions during the year to see whether change occurs.

Sex, chocolate and meat best for the brain

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that plenty of sex, dark chocolate and cold meats are the latest keys to boosting your brain power, according to a new book published in Britain

Terry Horne and Simon Wootton, authors of Teach Yourself: Train Your Brain, contend their recommendations are based on various chemical reactions within the body brought on by certain activities, and that those who want to stop their brain deteriorating should avoid watching TV soap operas, smoking cannabis and mixing with moaners.

While sex, dark chocolate and eating cold meats for breakfast top the list for the best ways to keep the brain fit, cuddling babies, cheating at homework, doing a business degree and reading out loud are also recommended.

"Mix with people who make you laugh, have a good sense of humour or who share the same interests as you and avoid people who whinge, whine and complain as people who are negative will make you depressed."

I’ll add in berries and beer.