Chocolate producer Hershey’s announced a little good news last week. The popular candy provider behind Hershey’s Kisses will remove fake vanilla (“vanillin”) from its kisses and chocolate bars and replace it with real vanilla. The people’s collective voice is being heard.

The switch is part of over a change-over to simpler, natural ingredients the company promised in February. Hershey’s is falling in line with many other food companies that are pulling artificial flavors, colors and ingredients from their products to satisfy health-conscious consumers.

Vanillin is a vanilla extract made from wood pulp that is utilized by food companies to reduce manufacturing costs. It’s a synthetic substance that is often produced using petrochemicals and byproducts from the paper industry. Vanillin reportedly “tricks” the brain into believing it is tasting pure vanilla. It’s also a neurotoxin that kills brain cells. Furthermore, vanillin can be addictive because it causes the brain to release serotonin, a “feel-good” hormone. [1] [2]

Hershey’s says it started shipping the vanilla-containing chocolates a few weeks ago, and if they’re not in stores already, they will be soon.

The chocolate’s ingredient lists will now say “natural ingredients” instead of vanillin. The company will also remove lactose, a milk sugar, from Hershey’s Kisses and bars, as well as PGPR from its bars, which makes chocolate flow better in a manufacturing plant. Kisses have never contained PGPR. Instead, Hershey’s will use more cocoa butter to produce the right texture. [3]

PGPR, a viscous, yellow liquid, is an emulsifier comprised of polyglycerol esters of polycondensed fatty acids from castor oil. It’s produced by the chemical giant Palsgaard. Like many toxic, bogus ingredients, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed PGPR “safe for human consumption;” however, PGPR has been shown to cause gastrointestinal problems and allergic reactions in children. [4] [5]

It’s hard to imagine that an ingredient made out of castor oil by a chemical company could possibly be good for you, so Hershey’s announcement is excellent news.

“We started making our great-tasting chocolate in 1894 with ingredients you might find in your pantry, like cocoa, milk, sugar and vanilla, and we’re continuing that tradition today,” said Mary-Ann Somers, vice president and general manager of US Confection at Hershey. “People want to see ingredients that they know and are familiar with in their foods and we’re listening.” [6]

Hershey’s promises to be transparent and to take even more steps in the future to provide consumers with natural, delicious sweets.

This article originally appeared at Natural Society.


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