In a video circulating on Whatsapp, a woman authoritatively talks about cockroaches as a commonly used ingredient in chocolates. She claims the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States permits the presence of cockroaches in chocolates.
In the 4-minute 32-second video, the woman makes various other claims including the FDA being the global authority on food standards, the FDA permitting 4% of cockroaches in 100gm bar of chocolate, which she says is roughly equivalent to 1 bar of chocolate having 16 cockroaches in it.
Newschecker received a link to the video on its Whatsapp tip line for verification.
We found that this video was widely shared on Facebook in February 2020.
Fact Check / Verification
We found the video to exaggerate facts on how authoritative bodies arrive at conclusions on food safety standards and impurities in chocolates.
Contrary to the claim, the Food and Drug Administration is not the global authority that controls food standards. It’s the authoritative body controlling and regulating food standards in the United States.
FDA’s guideline mentions insects and rodent filth, however, they don’t specifically mention cockroaches as insects. It discusses permissible limits for insect and rodent filth fragments in chocolates. It does not indicate that all chocolates will contain insect or rodent filth.
“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,” reads FDA’s Food Defect Levels Handbook.
It adds that “the FDA set these action levels because it is economically impractical to grow, harvest, or process raw products that are totally free of non-hazardous, naturally occurring, unavoidable defects.”
The video also mentions that at the rate of 4%, a 100g bar of chocolate will contain 16 cockroaches. Given cockroaches come in different shapes and sizes, we suspect how an exact number of them were concluded?
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India On Cockroaches In Chocolates
India’s food regulatory body is the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
The FSSAI has issued a clarification on standards for chocolate in their website’s myth buster section. As per its standards, chocolate should be free from insects and other contaminants.
“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.”
In March 2020, the FSSAI uploaded a video on their youtube channel clarifying the “Truth behind Cockroaches allowed in Chocolate Rumor.” Head of FSSAI’s Media & Public Relations, Ruchika Sharma, refutes the claim.
Our research makes it clear that the video of a woman talking authoritatively about cockroaches as a commonly used ingredient in chocolates is misleading.
Food & Drug Administration: https://www.fda.gov/media/71809/download
FDA’s Food Defect Levels Handbook: https://www.fda.gov/food/ingredients-additives-gras-packaging-guidance-documents-regulatory-information/food-defect-levels-handbook
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India: https://fssai.gov.in/cms/myth-buster.php
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUkIzAweuRA