Though chocolates are considered one of the safe foods by consumers they too can be subject to unintentional contamination or intentional adulteration. For centuries chocolate manufacturers have been trying to incorporate the lower classes into the chocolate market. In order to reduce the cost of chocolates they have been mixing potato, arrowroot, rice, sago and wheat flours into cocoa. Chemicals like certain alkali substances and ammonia were used to alter the colour of chocolates so that it would appeal to the consumer. Today some of these adulterants still remain but there are also other new forms of contamination.
Lead and cadmium are two naturally occurring substances which could find their way into chocolates from cocoa. Cocoa beans can get contaminated from heavy metals in the environment. Manmade industrial processes like smelting, burning of fossil fuels and waste can release heavy metals into the air from where they can enter the cocoa beans, which is the major ingredient of chocolates. Water used in the manufacturing process could also become contaminated so manufacturers need to test and manage their water in a better way. Studies have found that heavy metal concentrations are higher in cocoa powder and butter rather than in cocoa beans. Therefore manufacturers need to identify their suppliers and clean the supply chain and manufacturing process.
Chocolate has always been considered to be one of the more expensive food products. In order to reduce its cost unscrupulous manufacturers can mix adulterants like starch, cocoa shells to bulk up the cocoa and sell an inferior product. Starchy substances like dextrin and galantine are often mixed in chocolates. If there is starch in chocolate then it easily breaks and is gravelly and when water is added it becomes pasty. Chocolate is also known to contain iron dioxide and other pigments which is used for colouring.
According to FSSAI chocolates cannot contain any fats except cocoa butter but Codex standards permit 5% vegetable oil in chocolates. However, for economic reasons many smaller manufacturers replace the cocoa butter and add lard and other fats in chocolates. Cocoa butter is a high-profit commodity and is used in the pharmaceutical industry. Since cocoa butter fetches a high price in the pharmaceutical industry a number of manufactures separate the cocoa butter and substitute cheaper vegetable fats like lecithin and palm oil in chocolates. Instead of the Codex permitted levels of 5 % imported chocolate could contain as much as 20% vegetable oil. Any chocolate that has a fat substitute in place of cocoa butter causes changes in the melting properties of the chocolate bar.
Cocoa butter fat remains solid and fresh at room temperature and this is what gives chocolates its solid form. If the temperature is above 32ºC cocoa butter melts and so chocolate has to be stored at that temperature. Other properties in cocoa butter are that it jells and lubricates and prevents whitening. If you find that your chocolate is whitish you can be sure that cocoa content is not pure besides it could taste waxy.