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Free Chocolate!

Mars is giving away free chocolate. The point of the exercise is that Mars wants to be sure consumers know that Mars chocolate uses only 100% cocoa butter in its products. Federal law stipulates that chocolate must contain only cocoa butter (and in the case of milk chocolate, milk solids), that is, producers are not supposed to adulterate the chocolate with corn oil or other fats—like beef lard. Such adulteration means that the producer can not call the resulting substance "chocolate." There are similar laws all over the world, in most chocolate producing countries. The FDA is considering a "citizen's petition" to allow manufacturers to substitute vegetable oils and fats for cocoa butter, the natural substance of the cocoa bean, that, with the ground up roasted bean in the form of cocoa creates chocolate. Cocoa butter is what gives Chocolate its creamy texture, and what provides most of the healthy anti-oxidants associated with dark chocolate.

The "citizens" are all in the food business, and they include the Chocolate Manufacturers Assn., the Grocery Manufacturers Assn., the Snack Food Association. and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. In other words, they want to legally sell us adulterated chocolate-flavored crap, and call it chocolate, and charge for it as if it were chocolate.

As a sort of public political protest and publicity performance, Mars Snackfood US, the company responsible for 3 Musketeers, Milky Way, M&Ms, Snackers and other chocolates, is giving away coupons for a free single-serving chocolate bar or M&Ms.

Here's the deal; every Friday until the end of September, in a publicity event they're calling the Mars Real Chocolate Relief Act, 500,000 coupons (that's half a million) are going to be given out to consumers who log on here, provide their mailing address, name, and email address; they will then receive a coupon in the mail for a free single-serving chocolate bar. The coupons are good for any full-size Mars chocolate product, and there's a limit of one coupon per person per week. The Website will ask for your data of birth before you actually provide your name and mailing address, and you do need to agree to a fairly standard TOS.

But, as an online friend said, "Free chocolate!"

If you want to try your chances, and it's a Friday, go here.