Barry Callebaut is trying to convince the FDA that chocolate is health food—or at least, has a health benefit.
The Swiss-based chocolate manufacturer petitioned the FDA to be allowed to claim on packaging and in advertising that chocolate has cardiovascular benefits. The petition refers to studies that flavanols found in cocoa can have a beneficial effect on blood vessel dilation, improving blood flow and possibly lowering blood pressure.
The Barry Callebaut petition proposes several phrasings for health claims, including:
Supportive but inconclusive scientific evidence suggests that consuming at least 200 mg of cocoa flavanols daily, such as provided by Barry Callebaut™ cocoa powder, semi-sweet and dark chocolate products, may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Barry Callebaut convinced the European Union in 2013 to allow a similar claim on packaging for products sold in the EU.
The proposed FDA regulation is now undergoing review and is available for public comment on the FDA’s website.