So, we have sugar, which is frequently (like 95% of the time) from GMO sugar beets and is horrifically processed. (Learn more about processed sugar). The GMOs don’t stop there – corn syrup and corn starch also make an appearance. (At least 85% of the corn grown in America is GMO – learn more about corn.) Carnauba wax has not been proven toxic by the FDA (snort) but it is also found in shoe polish, automobile wax, and surfboard wax…so if you want to eat “food” that has been shined up like your car or your kitchen floor you should head straight for the jelly beans. Red #40 and Blue #1 are banned in Europe, but hey, they’re apparently all cool here in the US. And Shellac – for that, a picture is worth a thousand words. Shellac is made from the mating secretions of the female lac beetle. That sure gives a whole new meaning to “beetle juice”, doesn’t it?
I like bunnies and chocolate as much as anyone else, and melding the two into a cute piece of delicious candy was simply brilliant from a marketing perspective. The trouble is, standard American chocolate is just garbage. Before we even get into the ingredients in a chocolate bunny, let’s talk for a moment about the chocolate itself.
You know how experts tell you that you should eat some chocolate each day, that it’s actually good for you? Well, they do NOT mean the icky “milk chocolate” sold at every gas station checkout counter in the country. And “white” chocolate? Forget it – that’s not even chocolate.
Here is the nifty thing about the cheapo chocolate sold across the country. It has a secret ingredient – one so secret it isn’t even on the label.
I am not making this stuff up – I couldn’t – they’d sue me.
Those wonderful guardians at the FDA have actually ruled that as long as your chocolate bar contains less than 60 – SIXTY – cockroach parts, it’s perfectly fine to eat. But don’t worry – the average chocolate bar only contains 8 cockroach parts. You can read more of the FDA’s ruling, delightfully entitled Chocolate & Chocolate Liquor – Adulteration with Insect and Rodent Filth.
Anyhow, back to chocolate bunnies. If you still are not deterred by the roach parts, perhaps the other ingredients will slow you down a little.
What I found interesting was that when I compared a cheapo chocolate bunny with it’s more expensive counterpart, a Godiva chocolate bunny, the ingredients had very little difference. Check out the Battle of the Bunnies.
Milk chocolate (Sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, whole milk powder, soy lecithin, salt, and vanilla.)
Sugar, cocoa butter, unsweetened chocolate, skim milk powder, milk powder, butter oil, emulsifier (soy lecithin, natural flavor)
So, we have our GMOs, with the soy (90% of American soy is GMO) and the sugar. We have some milk that most like contains rBGH (growth hormone) and antibiotics. No mention of cockroaches.
What self-respecting Easter basket would omit the marshmallow chicks? The ingredients list below is for the yellow chicks – other color chicks have other food coloring.
Sugar, Corn Syrup, Gelatin, Contains less than 0.50.5% of Potassium Sorbate, Flavor(s) Artificial, Yellow 5, Carnauba Wax
Interestingly enough, the marshmallow chick ingredients are very similar to the jelly bean ingredients.
There’s GMO sugar and corn syrup, and good old carnauba wax. See above for more information.
Yellow #5, according to Foodfacts.com, is bad news. “Many allergic reactions have been reported due to prolonged use of the dye such as worsened asthma symptoms, skin rashes, and uticaria. Those intolerant of aspirin are highly recommended to avoid this additive. The dye has been banned in Norway, Austria, and Germany, but not all of Europe since it would affect many food businesses economically.” Potassium sorbate is used to prevent spoilage from mold and bacteria. It has been linked to adverse effects such as hypersensitivity reactions, migraines, and hyperkalemia (excess potassium in the bloodstream). (source) Of course, artificial flavors is so vague a term, we can’t break down the potential health effects of whatever they may have mixed in with the chicks.
Those mini-eggs with the crispy sweet shell and the chocolate inside…who doesn’t love them? The pretty pastel colors make them a traditional goodie for little ones to seek during a hunt on Easter morning. But those innocuous looking little candies are possibly the worst of the Easter basket line-up.
Milk Chocolate (Sugar, Milk, Cocoa Butter, Chocolate, Lactose, Soy Lecithin, PGPR, Emulsifier(s),Flavoring Artificial and Natural), Sugar Contains 2% or less of the Following: (Corn Starch,Acacia Gum, Color(s) Artificial (Yellow 5, Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 6 Lake, Blue 2 Lake),Ethyl Vanillin, Flavor(s) Artificial
We’ve already gone over chocolate with it’s optional bits and pieces of cockroach. There are the ever-present GMOs: Cornstarch, Sugar, more Sugar, and Soy Lecithin. We have artificial and natural flavors. (Trust me, just because it says “natural” doesn’t mean you want to eat it – learn more about “natural” additives.) Dangerous artificial colors have a big presence in the ingredients list here. Lactose is just another word for milk – we discussed the implications of growth hormones above.
Then we see some new faces. The presence of PGPR signifies you are getting lousy quality chocolate. Foodfacts.com says “Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate (PGPR) is an artificially derived emulsifier that is mainly used to replace some of the cocoa butter in chocolate used in lower grade candy bars. PGPR is a yellowish, viscous liquid comprised of polyglycerol esters of polycondensed fatty acids from castor oil. ” Ethyl vanillin is a synthetic vanilla and ethanol solution.
Do you really want to include these items in your child’s Easter basket? I used to be all for “everything in moderation” but honestly, I don’t think you SHOULD consume these things in moderation. I don’t want to eat carcinogens in moderation. I don’t want to eat cockroaches in moderation. I don’t want to eat synthetic female hormones in moderation. I don’t want to eat artificial chemistry project food and call it candy simply because it has processed sweeteners in it.
And I certainly don’t want to feed it to my kids in moderation. My children deserve FOOD and so do yours.
Click HERE to learn how to put together a reasonably priced Easter basket that doesn’t include poison.