Rumour Ka Tumour #04: Chocolates have 4% cockroaches

Whats App university is again enlightening their pupils with a new theory (in fact spreading tumour of rumour) that Chocolates have 4% cockroaches and it is approved by FDA, the global authority which controls food standards.

So, as a responsible food technologist, its my moral duty to stop the spreading this tumour of rumour and thus prevent society from the garbage of false information.

First let us hear what our Whats App University professor says about the relationship between Chocolates and Cockroaches.

Rumours

  1. FDA is global authority which controls the food standards
  2. FDA permits 4% of cockroaches in chocolates
  3. 100g of chocolates have 4g of cockroaches which is equivalent to 16 cockroaches

Truth & Facts

1

FDA is NOT global authority which controls the food standards. It is only US authority. Similarly, every country has their own authorities. E.g. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India  , Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) , Food Standards Agency, UK etc


2

FDA DOES NOT permit 4% cockroaches in chocolate. In fact no authority can allow this. We should have faith on our government and policy makers.

Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 110.110 allows the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish maximum levels of natural or unavoidable defects in foods for human use that present no health hazard. These “Food Defect Action Levels” listed in this booklet are set on this premise–that they pose no inherent hazard to health.

FDA

Let us understand more practically and scientifically the partial knowledge which Whats App professor wants to share.

Cocoa beans, like any other agricultural produces such as wheat, corn, rice, fruits & vegetables are prone to insect and rodent attack.

You can find rodents in a wheat godown, so you will find rodent excreta there. You will find insects inside the cut apple or cabbage.

But, it doesn’t mean that they are inherent part of the products and government or food authority will allow them to be present in your food products.

Understand this way, Cocoa beans are like other grains/crops produced by small farmers. These crops are attacked by insects and pest and it is natural and biological phenomena.

These small farmers are not equipped with sufficient manpower of machines to segregate these unwanted/undesired beans/seeds. But such sorting and gradings can be done by the big processors. They have x-ray sorters, colour sorters, money to put manpower to segregate them.

Imagine if Govt doesn’t allow a single infested seeds to be present, then these poor farmers will never be able to sell any of their agriculture produce. After they sell it to processors, it goes through a series of processes to make them safe and sound before reaches to consumers’ plate.

In case of cocoa beans, after fermentation, it goes through series of processes like cleaning, drying, winnowing (removal of all shells) and roasting (at 130°C and 150°C).

We also buy leafy vegetables, with soiled roots. But before we cook, it is cut and washed. It is not different but only the scale is bigger.

What does Food Safety and Standards of India (FSSAI) say about standards of cocoa bean?

As per 2.3.54 of FSSAI, COCOA BEANS have following specifications –

Description:

(a) Cocoa bean” means the properly fermented and dried whole seeds of tree Theobroma cacao Linnaeus.

(b) The product shall be free from any abnormal or foreign odour or flavor and admixture of any other seeds.

(c) It shall be reasonably free from broken beans, fragments and pieces of shell and the product shall be free from living insects.

(d) The product shall conform to the following requirements, namely:-

Moisture content Max 8%
“Moldy Beans” include beans on internal parts of which mould is visible to the naked eyes.Max 2%
**“Insect damaged beans” include beans, the internal parts of which contain insects at any stage of development or which have been damaged beans, attacked by insects causing damage visible to the naked eyes.Max 2%
**Authority DOES NOT allow more than 2% insect damaged beans, and professor is saying FDA allows 4% of cockroaches in chocolate 🙂

FSSAI : Clarification on Standards for Chocolate, allowing Insects:
According to FSSAI’s standards, any chocolate should be free from insects and other contaminants. Any rumor stating that FSSAI has permitted insects in chocolate manufacturing process, are false.

Regulation 2.7.4 of FSS(Food Product Standards and Food Additives)
Regulations 2011 specifies quality standards for Chocolate and its types.
Further, sub-regulation 3 of this 2.7.4: chocolate standard clearly specifies that the material shall be free from rancidity or off odour, insect and fungus
infestation, filth, adulterants and any harmful or injurious matter.

FSSAI Myth Buster
Link

3

100g of chocolates DO NOT have 4g of cockroaches which is equivalent to 16 cockroaches

As no authority allows cockroaches to be allowed in chocolates, 100g chocolate DO NOT have any of them.

Chocolate have about 30-70% cocoa solids (cocoa components) depending on whether it is milk chocolate or dark chocolate. As the professor mentioned, cockroaches are coming through cocoa beans, then how can be a single standard of 4% of permissible cockroach?

Logically, there should be a range of 4-10% depending on the type of chocolate. It clearly shows that the professor is throwing some random data.


Educate yourself with more information about interesting cocoa fermentation and chocolate making process


Know the health benefits of chocolates and cocoa products

Rumour Ka Tumour Health Benefit of chocoalte, 4% cockroaches

If chocolates are consumed with controlled portion size, cocoa is one of the health friendly foods.

To know more CLICK HERE


Educate yourself with scientific facts related to few more rumours related to processed food


About Rumor ka Tumor

Nowadays social media has become a “pseudo-main stream media”. Every citizen having access to the internet has become either a journalist OR news reader (spreading news).

So, we should also be little responsible while spreading a news/msg because “rumours” spread like “tumours” and sometimes becomes incurable.

Being a responsible food technologist, I thought to start a blog to suppress the spread of rumors related to food industry / processed food and spread awareness.


**DISCLAIMER**

THIS ARTICLE SHOULD BE READ AS ONLY A COUNTER ARTICLE TO “RUMOR” BEING SPREAD IN SOCIAL MEDIA. IT SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AS AN ENDORSEMENT TO ANY BRAND / COMPANY / PRODUCT. 

42 thoughts on “Rumour Ka Tumour #04: Chocolates have 4% cockroaches”

  1. Dr. Vinay Kumar Putta

    Excellent Sanjeev. Simple and clean explanation. Your touch of authoring can be sensed. Keep going and glad to be in your known circle. 😊👍

  2. Krishna Datta

    Superb. I think we should also begin having videos showing the hygiene and sanitation maintained in some of the food manufacturing units. Also we can encourage the manufacturers to maintain cleanliness and use a QR / bar code on the packets which will take the customer to a real time video of the processing of that product.

    1. I am so glad you did this . I have also made an educational video after this rumour. She should have some shame to do this . I am planning to come up with a video with machines so that people are confident . We have factory in mumbai .

  3. Yes it’s the over educated wapp univetsity
    Who doesn’t know about GMP AND HACCP ISO FSSAI AND modern food processing তে hnology
    Can only spread niusence

    Thanks your explanation is apt

  4. Sagar Kedare

    Good article to educate common consumers who now a days can be easily confused with misleading information.
    I may also suggest to start YouTube channel “rumour ka Tumour “. The right information should also spread faster and wider (beyond food tech fraternity) than so called Whatsapp Uni videos. YouTube does it well.
    Learned food science professional can mostly differentiate the rumours. But the common consumers generally seek for the clarifications when such a rumours spread.

  5. it’s not rumour but facts.. read the link N u gonna surprise what all rodent poop, mold N other insects body parts we all r eating on a day to day basis. she might be from whatsApp univ, but if info were wrong the Lobbyist would force Google to remove content. N yes, u r really backed by various Chocolates producing companies. So don’t teach ,even u admitted a limit of 2%. Just read this link to open ur brain https://www.livescience.com/55459-fda-acceptable-food-defects.html

    1. Understand this way, Cocoa beans are like other grains/crops produced by small farmers. These crops are attacked by insects and pest and it is natural and biological phenomena. These small farmers are not equipped with sufficient manpower of machines to segregate these unwanted/undesired beans/seeds. But such sorting and gradings can be done by the big processors. They have x-ray sorters, colour sorters, money to put manpower to segregate them.

      Imagine if Govt doesn’t allow a single infested seeds to be present, then these poor farmers will never be able to sell any of their agriculture produce. After they sell it to processors, it goes through a series of processes to make them safe and sound before reaches to consumers’ plate.

      In case of cocoa beans, after fermentation, it goes through series of processes like cleaning, drying, winnowing (removal of all shells) and roasting (at 130°C and 150°C).

      We also buy leafy vegetables, with soiled roots. But before we cook, it is cut and washed. It is not different but only scale is bigger.

  6. Vipul Golecha

    **“Insect damaged beans” include beans, the internal parts of which contain insects at any stage of development or which have been damaged beans, attacked by insects causing damage visible to the naked eyes. 2%

    What does it mean ? Is it allowed to include beans the internal part of which contain insects ?

    1. No, it doesn’t mean that. It allows insect-damaged beans upto 2%.

      Understand this way, Cocoa beans are like other grains/crops produced by small farmers. These crops are attacked by insects and pest and it is natural and biological phenomena. These small farmers are not equipped with sufficient manpower of machines to segregate these unwanted/undesired beans/seeds. But such sorting and gradings can be done by the big processors. They have x-ray sorters, colour sorters, money to put manpower to segregate them.

      Imagine if Govt doesn’t allow a single infested seeds to be present, then these poor farmers will never be able to sell any of their agriculture produce. After they sell it to processors, it goes through a series of processes to make them safe and sound before reaches to consumers’ plate.

      In case of cocoa beans, after fermentation, it goes through series of processes like cleaning, drying, winnowing (removal of all shells) and roasting (at 130°C and 150°C).

      We also buy leafy vegetables, with soiled roots. But before we cook, it is cut and washed. It is not different but only the scale is bigger.

  7. Krishnadutt Chavali

    The section of US FDA says, “… the product shall be free from living insects.” Does that mean dead insects are permitted?

      1. But 89 insect fragments are allowed in a 100 gm sub sample if average is less than 60 insect fragments in 6 100 gms sub sample. This is gross. @foodtechpathshala what do you say?

    1. Lets apply some common sense. The average wight of a roti/chapati is ~70 grams. So with 100 grams of atta you can make ~1.5 roti. So you will get ~10 cockroaches per roti, if you add 16 cockroaches to this 100 grams. How awful the taste will be, if you have 10 cockroaches in one roti. The chocolate also will taste the same way, awful.

  8. Pharmaprofessional

    FDA don’t allowing cockroaches..!!! …No where written Cockroach / 4% of Cockroach in 100 gm / calculating 16 Cockroach in 100 gm…!!!, simply twisting the truth,, showering ignorance… / Difficult to understand the motive behind…!!!!

    FDA Guideline CPG Sec. 515.700 talks about insect fragments…

    (Adulteration in food referring code 21 U.S.C. 342(a)(3), if it consists in whole or in part of any filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance, or if it is otherwise unfit for food;)

    1.Insect Filth
    a. The chocolate in six (6) 100 gram subsamples contains an average of 60 or more
    insect fragments per 100 grams.
    or
    b. Any one subsample contains 90 or more insect fragments, even if the overall
    average of all the subsamples is less than 60.

    2. Rodent Filth
    a. The chocolate in six (6) 100 gram subsamples contains an average of more than
    1.0 rodent hair per 100 grams, regardless of the size of the hairs or hair fragments.
    or
    b. Any one subsample contains more than 3 rodent hairs even if the overall average
    is less than 1.0 rodent hair.

    Links:

    https://www.fda.gov/media/71809/download
    https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/21/342

  9. Dear. Expert can explain the content of CPG sec 515.700 of fda ( chocolate and chocolate liquor adulteration) this is fda documents governed by test method 965.38 of OMA

  10. According to Morton Teich, an allergist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, contamination by cockroaches and their droppings is unavoidable, because it happens at cocoa beans’ source — the farms where they are produced. Preventing them from infiltrating the harvest would require the use of more pesticides, which Teich says are much worse for you than consuming a few extra bug parts.

    Avoiding insects in your food is “almost impossible,” Teich told ABC. “You probably would have to stop eating completely.”

    1. Sir, the document you are sharing is talking about the criteria on which the chocolate will be seized if the samples found to have foreign matter (insect fragments) more than a certain limit. It’s not talking about “4% cockroaches are allowed”.

      1. Which means that FDA allows certain amount of insect fragments (parts) as mentioned in the FDA regulations. If the processes were so good then why does FDA allow max 89 fragments of insects per 100gms of chocolate? This means that there certainly are those many or an average of 59 fragments per 6 sub samples of 100 GM’s chocolate. The whatsapp professor may not be right in quoting the 4% but she made all of us look into the FDA website and know that upto 89 parts of insects are permissible in 100gms chocolate. You should have mentioned this in your first counter itself and you are a technologist as I understand from one reply from a Dr. to your counter.

  11. Agreed that most of the crops are susceptible to pest & insects.. but I am not sure if we grind the insects in any process. For example you can segregate insects found in rice before cooking and so with fruits or vegetables . So the question is ‘are we eating some cockroch parts in chocolate (be 1% ,2% or 4% or just 2 legs)’? Or is this the problem with only small chocolate companies and big companies have the processes to weed out cockroaches?

  12. It is clear from the FDA guidelines that certain amount of cockroaches are allowed. However, it is not clear how will they identify the presence of exceeding levels of parts as the insect parts would get crushed, powdered and mixed with the chocolate in the manufacturing process. In the whole issue we need to bear in mind that FDA is for USA and the regulation may be based on the eating habits of USA public. This does not mean the same is applicable to India. In India the regulatory authority is FSSAI who have termed this as a myth as for as India is concerned. So, if we have trust on FSSAI and on brands like Amul we can continue to have chocolates without fear.

    Whilst on the subject, we should not forget that this issue concerns with many food items. For. e.g when we buy packed ground atta or maida, are we 100% sure it was free from insects and other foreign matters at the time of grinding.

    1. Amit Moondra

      There is def insects in India’s manufacturing as well.
      That’s why FDA has those standards, it’s trying to limit the amount of filth.
      If anything it’s probably worse as population is much larger and there is more pressure for cost effective manufacturing.

      Currently there seems to be no cost effective way to remove most of the filth, so that’s why FDA is so generous.

  13. Don’t know whom to trust. The so-called whatsapp professor or the author!!!!

    Present article seems to be choclate company sponsored, may be on seeing choclate sale going down….

  14. Amit Moondra

    I think you are taking her words, word for word instead of looking at
    the underlying point.

    FDA is not encouraging cocoroaches but by setting a ceiling, it’s allowing companies to get away with a certain amount of filth, which is almost the same thing when taking about cost cutting capalostic society.

    Now while the process of making chocolate can’t be perfectly free of filth, is the FDA being too generous by current rates?

    I have to check the numbers but 4% seems like a lot And way too generous.Why doesn’t FDA aim for 1% instead.

    From the reports I’ve read from FDA, they seem a little too forgiving with companies that are non compliant.

    Also,it’s not just the cocoa where insects and filth are introduced, The facilities where the chocolate is produced also has some infestation. I’m assuming that’s where the rat filth is introduced. Also there is storage and distribution which if not done properly could result in more Some

    From the AMA on Reddit from employees working at Hershey’s it seems like they hire careless workers that probably add additional filth.

    So filth does seem like a problem and 4 percent of filth doesn’t seem off.

  15. Amit Moondra

    Also, I’m not sure her point is with the video but, she left out milk which is allowed pus and I think blood.

    Is she criticizing food standards or just chocolate?

    Additionally, it’s not just chocolate but juice, wheat, dried fruits, coffee, spices that include cockroaches. Basically all foods have roaches mixed in.

    It’s hard to tell if FDA needs to be more strict As the standard seems to be from a long time ago and companies are just cost cutting, or if it’s really expensive.

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