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Chocolate Can Harm Your Health
September 22, 2009 19:18

Russian scientists performed a study and found out that, when stored under improper temperatures, chocolate can harm health of chocoholics. For being tasty and safe, chocolate needs stable temperature of 30 degrees Centigrade, in other cases harmful bacteria can propagate on a tasty medium. Therefore, researchers recommend confectioners to check more thoroughly how their chocolate reacts on temperature shifts, in order to prevent possible health problems in chocolate eaters.

Chocolate and chocolate sweets were never considered to be perishable foods, so no one actually paid proper attention to developing storage conditions for them. Russian food microbiologists from Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics claim that this approach is totally wrong, because their studies showed that temperature increase can stimulate microbe propagation in chocolates.

The laboratory of food microbiology of Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics studies microbial population of various food products for over than 100 years. The amount of microbial cells in chocolates can vary depending on raw materials, additives, production and manufacturing conditions form tens to tens of millions per gram of chocolate. Scientists inform us about optimal storage conditions for our favourite sweets: temperature should not exceed 18 degrees Centigrade, and relative humidity should be no more than 75%. Chocolate is afraid of direct sunlight, excessive moisture, cold fridge and heat, as well as temperature shifts. When chocolate finds itself under high temperature conditions, it becomes home for actively propagating bacteria and mould fungi, which deform its texture, modify its taste and exterior, as well as excrete dangerous toxins into chocolate bars. You should not eat chocolate, if it wasn’t stored properly.



Researchers performed comparative analysis and showed that when storage temperature is as high as 37 degrees Centigrade (or up to 50 degrees), shelf life or our favourite sweet can be four times shorter than under recommended conditions. In other worlds, a chocolate bar, which spent some time in a pocket of a child, can already be inhabited by harmful microorganisms. Therefore, scientists suggest confectionery plants should set expiry date for their chocolate products only after they have been tested in unfavourable temperature conditions.

Typical representatives of microbial population, which inhabits sugar-containing confectionery items, are spore-forming aerobic (which require oxygen for growing) and facultative anaerobic (usually live with oxygen, but not necessarily) bacilli, penicillin fungi, various yeast species and other opportunistic microbes and pathogens. Mentioned microorganisms are able to make chocolate a source of various diseases, poisoning, for instance, for children and people with compromised immunity. Well, don’t neglect proper storage conditions for chocolate and keep enjoying your favourite sweet.

Source: Science News

Kizilova Anna

Tags: health     

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