Archive for April, 2011

The Latest on Artificial Colors

Posted in Uncategorized on April 17, 2011 by Brian

It’s red all over. Specifically Red Dye 40 all over.

It’s in jelly beans and cereal and fruit snacks. It’s in Altoids (those are white, aren’t they?), M&Ms, Jello and Lifesavers. It’s in an awful lot of Easter chocolate and other candies you can get at grocery stores.

And it might be bad for you.

In fact, in early 2008, European food safety watchdogs called for a ban on six specific artificial colors, including Red 40, based on studies that suggest the additives may be connected to hyperactivity in children. Many food manufacturers began voluntarily phasing out the colorants, and later that year the European Union (EU) established new rules for artificial colors in foods requiring that EU food products that contain any of six specific colorants require warnings on the label. In 2010 the EU began requiring warning labels on foods with the six colors.

The major impact is that a food product containing any of these colors must include the following wording on the product label – “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”

M&Ms, among other candies, decided that it didn’t want to have a warning label on its European packaging, so they voluntarily stopped using the color in its European products and now use a natural color.

Don’t worry, though, you can still get Red 40 in American M&Ms.

In fact, of the six artificial colors, three are approved for use in the United States: FD&C Red 40, FD&C Yellow 5 and FD&C Yellow 6. No warning label required. (The other three are colors approved in the EU, but not the US.)

But the US Food and Drug Administration is on the case. They sent it to a committee. And the committee said there’s really no problem, except that it might exacerbate the symptoms of children with behavioral problems. So they voted 8 to 14 that there was no need for a warning label.

Eight to 14. Which means that six experts said there should be a warning label. Isn’t democracy great?

The Grocery Manufacturers Association noted that “All of the major safety bodies globally have reviewed the available science and have determined that there is no demonstrable link between artificial food colors and hyperactivity among children.” No specific word on the fact that Red 40 is banned – no warning labels, an outright ban – in Denmark, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Sweden.

The manufacturers will continue to push the FDA and others to make sure that kids can eat their chemicals without fear of a warning label. Watchdog groups will continue to recommend that the colorants be banned.

Kakao, meanwhile, will continue to NOT use artificial colors in anything we make.

Easter at Kakao

Posted in Uncategorized on April 4, 2011 by Brian

The bunnies are back.

Last year we had all of four molds to make these cute little critters, which we soon realized wasn’t enough. This year we have 12 molds at each store, which gives us a little more wiggle room. (Sorry!)

(By the way, if anyone has given up chocolate or sweets for Lent, you might want to check out this recent chocolate-inspired sermon at The Gathering church in Maplewood.)

So with all those molds, we thought we’d be able to meet the demand for The Cutest Chocolate Bunnies in the World. Until this guy showed up:

Yes, he’s pink. He’s made from white chocolate with raspberry powder. Real white chocolate, made with real cocoa butter, not the other stuff you see at the grocery store.

And he brought friends. He’s got a green buddy made with white chocolate and matcha tea. He’s got a chocolate chip friend made with white chocolate and bits of dark chocolate. There’s a bunny swirled with milk chocolate and white chocolate. And a few made with chocolate and peanut butter.

Plus this guy:

This is about five pounds of chocolate goose — available in semisweet, milk, white, and even some decorated with mixtures of white, raspberry and dark chocolate. Chocolate-painted ribbons, brushed dark chocolate on white chocolate — lots of variety.

And these:

And these:


We’re making as much of all of this as we can — as you know, we make everything by hand in small batches, which takes more time but is completely worth the effort.

So here’s what we recommend for your Easter shopping: stop in soon and pick out what you want, and either take it with you now or have us set it aside for you to pick up closer to the holiday. We assume there’ll be a lot of last-minute shoppers coming in the few days before Easter, and hopefully we’ll have some for them, too.

And don’t forget our new hours at Kakao on Jefferson, which are now the same as Kakao Maplewood (except Jefferson is closed on Mondays): Weekdays and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sundays noon to 5 p.m. See you soon!