Bon Bon Appetite

Not since Adam and Eve ate apples has the world been in such a fuss over food.

Last week, the French yelled "Non!" to imports of British beef, claiming it's not free of taint. The British, meanwhile, were looking down their noses (and holding them) over news that French farmers used sewage in cattle feed. Europe has been tut-tutting over genetically modified food from the United States. A French farmer remains a hero for attacking a McDonald's over US retaliatory tariffs against Europe's ban on certain bananas.

And then there's the biggest food fight of all, the battle at this month's World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle over whether to fully open global agricultural markets.

Alas, while we hope that diplomacy and science will solve these matters, let us not overlook a food issue closer to everyone's palate - the question of defining exactly what is chocolate.

Last week, the European Union ruled that vegetable fats other than cocoa butter could be used to make chocolate.

For purist chocolate-makers and cocoa-producing countries, such "diluted" confection is fake chocolate.

We heartily agree. Anyone who has tasted chocolate from Belgium, France, or Switzerland - and then tasted a "chocolate" milkshake at a fast-food joint - will know that such definitions matter. It's time to banish the fake stuff from the garden of chocolate eden.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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