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US readers: Save chocolate and manipulate the government!

 
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Mike B in OKlahoma



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 1048
Location: Oklahoma City

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 9:36 pm    Post subject: US readers: Save chocolate and manipulate the government! Reply with quote

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-may19apr19,0,2342362.story?coll=la-home-commentary

The above article describes a petition being considered now by the US Food and Drug Administration. It would allow manufacturers to make concoction of fats and vegetable oils and label them as "chocolate". Below are some comments I wrote up for the blogger who brought it to my attention on how to comment on this effectively:

You can comment to the Food and Drug Administration through this link:

http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/oc/dockets/comments/COMMENTSMain.CFM?EC_DOCUMENT_ID=1477&SUBTYP=CONTINUE&CID=&AGENCY=FDA

Whatever your readers do, they should be sure they comment on Docket # 2007P-0085. Federal agencies actually do a certain amount of "ballot counting" in determining how much support or opposition there is to a measure, so quantities of comments are important.

They should mention that they are contacting their elected officials about this in their comment. This is helpful, and especially important if they have a legislator who is on Committee with jurisdiction over the FDA. The Committee on Appropriations in both House and Senate is good, but members of the Subcommittees with oversight of FDA are especially good to contact. I'd ask your legislator to query FDA about why this petition is being seriously entertained, and ask him/her to send you a copy of whatever response is received from FDA on the subject.

The following Congressional subcommittees have jurisidiction over FDA, and I have listed the subcommittee members and their home states below. It would be useful for your readers who are represented by these officials to contact their Senator or Congressman and complain about this measure. Ideally they should mention FDA docket # 2007P-0085 when they contact their elector, to make it easy for congressional staff to know what is being referred to.

Senate Subcommittee on Appropriations--Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA & related agencies
Kohl WI
Harkin IA
Dorgin ND
Feinstein CA
Durbin IL
Johnson SD
Nelson NE
Reed RI


House Subcommittee on Appropriations--Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA & related agencies

*Chair: Rosa DeLauro (CT)*
Maurice D. Hinchey (NY)
Sam Farr (CA)
Allen Boyd (FL)
Sanford Bishop (GA)
Marcy Kaptur (OH)
Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (IL)
Steven R. Rothman (NJ)
Dave Obey (WI), Ex Officio

*MINORITY*

*Ranking Member:
Jack Kingston (GA)*
Tom Latham (IA)
Jo Ann Emerson (MO)
Ray LaHood (IL)
Rodney Alexander (LA)
Jerry Lewis (CA)


These are the comments I submitted to FDA--These should not be quoted verbatim, but may be used as a model. Going on at length about the subject, unless you do some significant reading up or have expertise in the field, is unnecessary, your readers should just make it clear that they oppose the petition because its fundamental premise is flawed. Despite what I mention in this comment and in my comments to my Senator below, FDA will NOT summarily remove the petition from consideration, but hopefully these comments will encourage the FDA staff to kill it dead.

The so called "citizen's petition" is not a way to modernize food standards as described in Mark Nelson's letter, but simply a crass and brazen attempt by manufacturers and vendors to lower quality of product and cut their costs with no benefit to consumers. The material on page 7 and 8 of the petition on so-called changed consumer expectations is claptrap and without merit. Citizens expect chocolate to contain chocolate, not to be some inferior manufactured substitute. Manufacturers are free to manufacture and sell inferior products such as those that would benefit from this petition now--The only difference would be that manufacturers could deceive consumers by trading on the historical reputation and consumer memory of actual chocolate.

I am outraged that the FDA did not reject this shameful petition out of hand. I am contacting Senator (or Congressman--fill in your own) on this subject and will ask him to question Commissioner von Eschenbach why he is allowing FDA to be an accessory to this fraud on consumers.

This petition should go no further, and should be immediately withdrawn by the docket from FDA. If FDA allows this to go further, I will contact my elected officials regarding what legislation is necessary to reverse this decision, and to limit FDA's ability to assist this sort of fraud.

This is what I sent to my Senator:

I am contacting you regarding the petition from food manufacturers which the FDA is now entertaining. FDA's docket number for this is 2007P-0085. If allowed, this petition would authorize manufacturers and vendors to make concoctions of vegetable fats and oils, add sugar, and label them as chocolate. This proposal, despite being submitted as a "citizen's petition" has no merit, and is an attempt to allow manufacturers to lower standards. Manufacturers are free to sell such concoctions now--There is no benefit or freedom offered to consumers by this petition. The only beneficiaries would be manufacturers who could freeload off of consumer perceptions and loyalties to the name "chocolate".

I urge you to contact FDA and ask them to summarily remove this petition from consideration. I am outraged that FDA is entertaining this idea, and I hope that you are outraged as well. I would greatly appreciate receiving a copy of the response you receive from FDA on this issue.


I do not favor introducing politics here, but in my view, saving chocolate is a bipartisan issue deserving the support of all Americans! Smile
_________________
Mike Broderick
Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Constructive critiques of my pictures, and reposts in this forum for purposes of critique are welcome

"I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul....My mandate includes weird bugs."
--Calvin
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Ken Ramos



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 7048
Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Never considered something like this. I am a big fan of chocolate too, not so much for sweetness but for the flavor of the stuff as well, dark chocolates especially. Must be the caffine that I have heard it contains. Laughing An interesting bit of information here though Mike, something to consider, I agree. Very Happy
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