FROM THE NEWS DESK OF JEANNE HAMBLETON
Source Newsroom: Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) feeding the minds of the world
If you believe as I do that dark chocolate helps to lower your high cholesterol, along with Plant Sterols and garlic capsules, you might find these fact interesting.
1. Cocoa trees produce pods, which is the fruit chocolate comes from. Large harvests occur by hand twice annually throughout the year.
2. Chocolate liquor is the thick paste generated when chocolate nibs, the roasted and de-shelled chocolate beans, are heated to a high temperature; it’s then separated into cocoa butter and cocoa powder.
3. The FDA has established standards to identify different kinds of chocolate.
• Milk chocolate contains cream or other dairy products and sugar, but it must contain at least 10 percent chocolate liquor;
• Dark, bittersweet or semisweet chocolate must contain at least 35 percent chocolate liquor;
• White chocolate contains no chocolate liquor, but instead consists of cocoa butter, sugar, dairy products, and flavorings; it must contain at least 20 percent cocoa butter and no more than 55 percent sugar.
4. A machine known as an “electronic nose” evaluates the chocolate’s aroma.
5. Several tests are conducted on chocolate liquor to make sure it’s fit for human consumption and check for qualities such as moisture content, fat content, free fatty acid content, particle size, viscosity, color, and flavor.
6. Roasting the cocoa beans is an important step in chocolate processing as it eliminates pathogens (particularly salmonella).
7. There is not a one standard method of quality testing in the chocolate industry; companies around the world have their own ways of measuring chocolate quality and their own types of equipment.
*Food Technology, February 2012
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a nonprofit scientific society. Our individual members are professionals engaged in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT’s mission is to advance the science of food, and our long-range vision is to ensure a safe and abundant food supply, contributing to healthier people everywhere.
For more than 70 years, the IFT has been unlocking the potential of the food science community by creating a dynamic global forum where members from more than 100 countries can share, learn, and grow. We champion the use of sound science across the food value chain through the exchange of knowledge, by providing education, and by furthering the advancement of the profession. IFT has offices in Chicago, Illinois and Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit ift.org.