- Chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut is petitioning the Food and Drug Administration for a qualified health claim for the heart benefits of chocolate. The petition is undergoing FDA review. It was posted to the regulations website for public comment last week, where members of the public can add their views for 60 days.
- In the petition, Barry Callebaut says it found supportive but inconclusive scientific evidence suggesting that consuming at least 200 milligrams of cocoa flavanols daily may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The claims are applicable to cocoa powder, semi-sweet and dark chocolate products.
- The petition was originally submitted in December 2017, but the FDA required additional information in order to acknowledge it. The FDA acknowledged the petition on Nov. 21, 2018 and sent a letter on December 6, 2018 notifying the company that they would decide whether to file the petition by January 4. The government shutdown delayed the petition filing date.
Although the petition is still in the early stages, a heart-healthy claim could give chocolate makers an edge in the growing better-for-you market.
This isn't Barry Callebaut's first time proposing this health claim. In 2013, the company provided evidence of the same claim to the European Commission. The claim was approved to appear on product labels across Europe, which could give the FDA reason to apply the same standard here.
"Cocoa flavanols help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, which contributes to normal blood flow," the European Commission said in its commission regulation in 2013. The commission even extended the claim to cocoa extracts in 2015.