What is Aspartame?
Aspartame is a low-calorie sweetener that provides sweetness to foods and beverages without adding significant calories. Aspartame consists of two amino acids (the building blocks of protein) – phenylalanine and aspartic acid. These components (phenylalanine and aspartic acid) are naturally occurring in common foods, such as meat, milk, fruits, and vegetables.
Why is Aspartame used?
Aspartame is about 200 times sweeter than sugar, so very small amounts of aspartame are needed to provide the same sweet taste without the calories of sugar. Aspartame is available as a tabletop sweetener and in many products, including a variety of beverages, dairy products, canned fruits, desserts, confections, sauces and dressings.
Is Aspartame safe?
Aspartame has been studied extensively and has been found to be safe by scientific experts and researchers. Government agencies worldwide, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA), the World Health Organization, and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have reviewed the science and found aspartame to be safe for human consumption.
People with a rare hereditary condition called phenylketonuria (PKU) cannot metabolize phenylalanine, an amino acid that is found in aspartame, as well as meat, beans, and many other foods. Individuals with PKU should avoid foods containing phenylalanine, including aspartame. Foods and beverages sweetened with aspartame carry a statement on the label to alert people who have PKU to the presence of phenylalanine.
What confectionery products contain Aspartame?
Small amounts of aspartame may be used in sugar-free confections such as gum, mints, and some hard candies and chewy candies.
What are BHA and BHT?
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are food additives that help preserve food and increase its shelf-life1-2. They are primarily used to inhibit oxidation of fats and oils in food and food ingredients.
Are BHA and BHT safe?
The U.S. FDA has determined that food products containing BHA and BHT are safe for consumption1,2.
1CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. CFR-Code of Federal Regulations Title 21.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 01 Apr. 2013. Web. 19 Jun. 2014.
2CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. CFR-Code of Federal Regulations Title 21.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 01 Apr. 2013. Web. 19 Jun. 2014.
Providing consumers with safe food products is the number one priority of confectionery companies. We understand that some consumers have questions about genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, which are also sometimes referred to as genetically engineered crops or foods. The U.S. government refers to this technology as bioengineering.
Bioengineering is a process that incorporates certain desirable traits from nature into crops, resulting in plants that can be healthier, more nutritious and better for the environment. There are many benefits of this agricultural technology, including helping farmers reduce their environmental footprint by decreasing the amounts of water and pesticides they use, and making food more affordable which helps alleviate hunger and malnutrition around the world.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the National Academy of Sciences, and other leading health agencies and scientific organizations around the world have found that bioengineered food ingredients are safe and that there are no negative health effects associated with consuming them. Bioengineered crops have been widely adopted by farmers in the U.S. and around the world over the past 20 years. The most widely grown BE crops in the U.S. are corn, soybeans, canola and sugar beets. More than 90 percent of these four crops grown in America currently come from bioengineered seeds. Corn, soybeans, and sugar beets, and ingredients derived from these crops, are used to make confectionery and are often made from bioengineered seeds.
The confectionery industry is committed to transparency and to providing consumers accurate information to help them make informed choices about the treats they enjoy. In 2016, the industry advocated for the creation of a federal standard for disclosure of ingredients derived from bioengineered crops, which was passed by Congress that same year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service completed and released the final National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) on December 20, 2018.
The NBFDS defines bioengineered foods as those that contain detectable genetic material that has been modified through certain lab techniques and cannot be created through conventional breeding or found in nature.
The effective date of the NBFDS was January 1, 2020, except for small food manufacturers, whose implementation date is January 1, 2021. The mandatory compliance date set by USDA is January 1, 2022. Regulated entities may voluntarily comply with the NBFDS until December 31, 2021.
Updates are available on USDA’s website; the public is encouraged to provide their input on this process.
We will continue to engage in an informative dialogue with regulators and consumers so that they understand the safety, prevalence and benefits of bioengineering.
What is FD&C1 Blue 1?
FD&C Blue 1, also known as brilliant blue or E133, is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA) certified artificial food color widely used in the food industry to provide food with a vibrant blue color.
Is FD&C Blue 1 safe?
The U.S. FDA has reviewed and approved FD&C Blue 1 as safe for use in in food, drugs, and cosmetics2.
How do I know if a product contains Blue 1?
All certified added colors are listed on the ingredients statement label of the product. FDA permits FD&C Blue 1 to be declared on the ingredients statement label by name – e.g., "FD&C Blue 1" or "Blue 1".
1FD&C (Federal Food Drug & Cosmetic Act)
2Color Additive Status List (2009, December). In U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
What is caffeine?
Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance found in various plants, coffee beans, tea leaves and - in small amounts - in cocoa beans. The amount of caffeine present in chocolate and cocoa-based products differs depending on the type and amount of cocoa ingredients used, including cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and chocolate liquor.
Is caffeine safe?
Most adults can consume moderate amounts of caffeine safely. Moderate consumption of caffeine can vary between people, but on average, FDA considers consumption up to 400 mg per day, which is equal to about four to five 8-ounce cups of coffee, as a safe amount for healthy adults1 . Women who are pregnant and individuals with heart disease should check with their healthcare provider to see how much caffeine they can consume.
How do I know how much caffeine is in candy products?
The amount of caffeine in chocolate products will typically vary depending on the amount of cocoa solids in the product. Generally, a dark chocolate bar will contain more caffeine than a milk chocolate bar. White chocolate bars generally do not contain caffeine. Most people are surprised to find out that milk chocolate contains relatively low amounts of caffeine.
Typical caffeine ranges in chocolate and coffee
Milk Chocolate (1.4 oz.): 3 – 10mg
Dark Chocolate (1 oz.): 5 – 35mg
Unsweetened Baking Chocolate (1 oz.): 35mg
Coffee (8 oz.): 95-200 mg
Decaffeinated Coffee: 95-200 mg
What is theobromine?
Theobromine is a naturally occurring substance found in cocoa beans. Due to its natural occurrence in cocoa beans, theobromine is also a component of chocolate products, though the amount will vary depending on how much and which ingredients are used.
Is theobromine safe?
Foods containing theobromine have been part of the human diet for many years. Theobromine is safe for human consumption; however, it can be dangerous to animals, especially dogs. Dogs lack a specific enzyme and thus are unable to break down theobromine properly. If you suspect that your pet has eaten chocolate or chocolate products, immediately contact your veterinarian.
Is there a lot of theobromine in chocolate?
Dark chocolates, unsweetened baking chocolate and cocoa powder contain more theobromine than milk chocolate and chocolate syrups.
1Spilling the Beans: How Much Caffeine is Too Much? (2018, December 12). Found at https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/ Retrieved May 11, 2020.
What is Carmine Color?
Carmine color, also known as cochineal extract or E120 (outside of the U.S. and Canada), is a food color extracted from the female cochineal beetle (Dactylopius coccus costa)1. Carmine provides food with a deep red color.
Is Carmine color safe?
Carmine colors have been used for centuries around the world2. Carmine used in confectionery must meet or exceed U.S. government standards established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA).
How do I know if a product contains carmine color?
As of 2011, the U.S. FDA requires that carmine be declared on the ingredients statement be labeled as "cochineal extract" or "carmine"3.
1CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 Sec. 73.100 Cochineal extract; carmine. (2013, April 1).
In U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved June 16, 2014, from
2Carmine. (n.d.). In CHR Hansen. Retrieved June 16, 2014, from
3Guidance for Industry: Cochineal Extract and Carmine:
Declaration by Name on the Label of All Foods and Cosmetic Products That Contain These Color Additives; Small Entity Compliance Guide.
(2009, April). In U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved June 16, 2014, from
What are resinous glaze and confectioner’s glaze?
Resinous glaze refers to a coating that is high-quality shellac made from a resin sourced from the lac bug, prepared specifically for food use.
Confectioner’s glaze refers to a glaze made without shellac as a component.
Why is resinous/confectioner’s glaze used?
This glaze is applied to foods to help protect the food’s surface and improve the appearance by providing a smooth, glossy finish.
Are resinous and confectioner’s glazes safe?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA) has reviewed the ingredients used in resinous and confectioner’s glazes and approved their use in foods.
What candies use resinous or confectioner's glaze?
Glazes can be used on jelly beans, gummy products, and chocolate covered fruits and nuts.
What is High Fructose Corn Syrup?
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) comes from corn starch, and is very similar in composition, taste and sweetness to table sugar (sucrose). Table sugar is called sucrose, which is a combination of two basic sugars: glucose and fructose. All high fructose corn syrups are also a mixture of glucose and fructose. The typical High Fructose Corn Syrup used in beverages and foods (HFCS 55), contains about equal amounts of glucose and fructose - similar to table sugar (sucrose) 1. High Fructose Corn Syrup is used in many products such as yogurts, baked goods, canned and packaged foods, candies, beverages and other sweetened foods, not only as a sweetener, but for a variety of other functions described below.
Why is High Fructose Corn Syrup Used?
High Fructose Corn Syrup has many functions that help improve qualities of food and beverages. In addition to enhancing the flavor of foods and beverages, high fructose corn syrup also provides shelf stability, promotes browning in baked goods, improves texture, and helps protect and preserve food longer1. High fructose corn syrup is commonly used in place of table sugar because of ease of use in product applications and cost effectiveness.
To learn more about High Fructose Corn Syrup, visit: Internal Food Information Council Foundation
Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Safe?
Confectionery companies consider the safety and quality of their products as their utmost priority. All ingredients used in candies must meet or exceed U.S. government standards established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA). The FDA has recognized high fructose corn syrup as safe, in part because of its similarity to table sugar (sucrose). Most people are surprised to find out that our bodies metabolize high fructose corn syrup in the same way we metabolize table sugar and honey1.
1Fast Facts about High-Fructose Corn Syrup (2011, April 19).
In Food Insight - Your Nutrition and Food Safety Resource. Retrieved February 20, 2014, from.
What is Palm Oil?
Palm oil is used in a wide range of products. Chocolate and candy use palm oil as an ingredient because of its smooth, creamy texture, absence of smell, and its natural preservative effect which can extend product shelf life.
Chocolate and candy companies are taking steps to ensure that the palm oil they buy is produced in an environmentally and socially sound manner. Many companies support the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil which provides the most widely supported approach to developing and enforcing standards for sustainable palm oil production.
What is PGPR?
Polyglycerol polyricinoleate, more commonly known as PGPR, is an emulsifier derived from castor bean oil and often used to improve processing characteristics of chocolate. PGPR was first used in chocolate in England in 1952; since then, it has been used in various food applications such as cooking oils and fats, stick margarine, spreads, low fat dressings, ice cream and flour.
What is an emulsifier? What other emulsifiers are used by Hershey?
An emulsifier is an ingredient that is typically used in food production as a way to keep fat and water from separating in the product. When cooking at home, egg yolks are often used as an emulsifier. Emulsifiers also are used in the confectionery industry to improve the flow characteristics of chocolate so that it can be pumped more freely in a manufacturing plant. They also facilitate the molding of chocolates into various shapes. Another emulsifier commonly used in chocolate is soy lecithin, which is usually obtained from soybeans.
Is PGPR safe?
Yes, PGPR is a commonly-used and a safe ingredient. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA) and other international regulatory authorities have reviewed PGPR and indicate that it is safe and suitable for use in food production.1
Confectioners have always considered the safety and quality of their products as their utmost priority. All ingredients used in candy must meet or exceed U.S. government standards established by the U.S. FDA.
How much PGPR is in our products?
Generally, PGPR is used in quite small (as is the amount of soy lecithin).
1GRAS Notification for Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate (pgpr) in Vegetable Fat Coatings (2008, November 13).
In U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved February 19, 2014
What is FD&C1 Red 3?
FD&C Red 3, also known as erythrosine or E127 (outside of the U.S. and Canada), is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA) certified artificial food color used in the food industry to provide food with a vibrant red color.
Is FD&C Red 3 safe?
The U.S. FDA has reviewed and approved FD&C Red 3 as safe for use in food and ingested drugs. However, the U.S. FDA banned FD&C Red 3 from being used in cosmetics, external drugs, and lakes2
How do I know if a product contains Red 3?
All certified added colors are listed on the ingredients statement label of the product. FDA permits FD&C Red 3 to be declared on the ingredients statement label by name – e.g., "FD&C Red 3" or "Red 3".
1FD&C (Federal Food Drug & Cosmetic Act)
2Color Additive Status List (2009, December). In U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved May 22, 2014, from
What is rBST?
Similar to humans, cows produce growth hormone, which is essential for normal growth and development. In cows, the naturally occurring growth hormone is called "bovine growth hormone" or "bovine somatotropin."rBST, or recombinant bovine somatotropin, is a synthetic version of the naturally occurring growth hormone1.
Is rBST safe?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA) approved rBST in 1993 for use in dairy cows to increase milk production. This approval was made after significant safety evaluation to ensure that milk from cows given with rBST was safe1.
How do I know if a product contains rBST?
The U.S. FDA does not require special labels for products produced from rBST-treated cows. Additionally, the U.S. FDA recommends, but does not require additional labeling on products that contain rBST-free claims. The additional labeling is intended to avoid misleading claims by clarifying that "no significant differences have been shown between milk derived from rBST-treated and non-rBST-treated cows."
Products that have been certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would only contain milk ingredients from non-rBST-treated cows.
1Report on the Food and Drug Administration's Review of the Safety of Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin (2009, April 23).
In U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved May 20, 2014, from