To the ChocoSol product community (wholesale, retail, customers, allies):
This past August for the first time in the company's history we received a report of an individual having an allergic reaction to one of our chocolates.
Our research has indicated that the allergic reaction was most likely caused by annatto (achiote) (see links below), and that those with nut allergies in rare instances can have cross sensitivity to achiote. However we have received consistent feedback from other customers in the past who have (or their children) nut allergies but are not triggered by annatto or any other ingredients in the jaguar chocolate. It is important to note that we steep the achiote seeds in our cacao butter before adding it to the jaguar chocolate - we do not grind the seeds with our cacao.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1994783/ - “Annatto dye may contain contaminating or residual seed proteins to which our patient developed IgE hypersensitivity.”
https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-an-annatto-allergy-1324369 - “There has not been any large-scale study done of annatto allergy, although there are a few case studies of anaphylaxis due to annatto in the medical literature.”
https://www.foodallergy.org/resources/food-additives-and-allergies/intolerances - “Annatto is an orange food coloring made from the seeds of a South American tree, Bixa orellana. This additive has been found to cause allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis and hives/swelling."
Despite the rarity of such a reaction, we have decided to voluntarily take the following action as an organization:
1) Effective immediately we will be removing achiote from new batches of the following recipes:
- 5 Chili Bullet
- 5 Chili Bomba
- All “Jaguar” products: Jaguar Pure, Jaguar Swirl, Jaguar Crunch, Jaguar Harvest and Jaguar 99%
Achiote is still present in our existing inventory and in the backstock of bulk chocolates that will be tempered into finished bars. It will continue to be listed in our ingredients label. By early 2022 the inventory of chili chocolates will be free of achiote, and by mid-2022 the inventory of jaguar chocolates will be free of achiote. We don’t anticipate a large flavour fluctuation as this ingredient is used in very small quantities.
We love the allopathic role and the polyculture role of achiote in the traditional Indigenous forest garden, however the inclusion or exclusion of this ingredient is not a deal breaker. What is a deal breaker for us is the one in a million potential of a mild allergic reaction that could occur.
We will be attaching this update to our website and our newsletter, and will be including some of the research links we have used in gathering this information. We are very grateful to all of our customers and business partners who continue to give us feedback that helps us to continuously and iteratively make the best food of the gods chocolate humanly possible.
If you have any thoughts, concerns, or questions please write to us and we will be happy to reply. Thank you so much for reading our updates and for participating in this process and re-evolution with us.
With much love and gratitude
Founder of the ChocoSol Learning Community Social Enterprise