Chocolate Customer Service

Early last week I finished off a chocolate bar that I’d been keeping for late-afternoon sugar emergencies at the office. To my surprise, immediately after consuming the last bite, one half of my lower lip puffed up to about twice its regular size. I was disconcerted, to say the least, especially as this was something I’d never experienced before, and I’d had no problems after the first half of the same chocolate bar. After a couple of hours my lip returned to its normal size, and I’ve suffered no ill effects since.

I decided to alert the manufacturer of the chocolate bar to my problems, and I followed the website address on the back of the wrapper to a feedback form. Today (appropriately enough, Valentine’s Day), I received the following reply:

We regret that you have noticed healthy disorders after consumption of a [brand name] chocolate bar [chocolate bar name]. However we are not able to inform you about the reasons for the mentioned occurance. As you have written, you ate the first part of the bar without any problems, we can not imagine why the problem appears when eating the second part.
Please understand that we cannot give any explanations without the product or without a diagnosis what could have happened.
We can assure you that we only use high quality raw materials for the production of our chocolate bars. Every raw material and production lot is checked by various parameters to guarantee the high quality and the consumer and food safety.
We ask for your understanding and hope you will be a sufficient consumer of our products in future. We will inform our distributor partner in Canada sending you a little chocolate package, regardless any legal duty, for compensation.

The note is delightful for its “native German speaker writing in English” style, and they actually took the time to write back, which most of the places I send customer service email don’t do. As a result — and because I don’t want to start a worldwide panic over something that may have been a coincidence — I’m leaving the manufacturer’s name out of this post. And awaiting my “little chocolate package” with much anticipation. Of course it might kill me, but I’ll die happy.


Alan's picture
Alan on February 14, 2006 - 13:50 Permalink

You ight want to check with an allergist about preservatives like sodium metabisulfate which might have caused this. I am allergic to this stuff that is often not on the label which, while controllable, can sometimes go quite a way to shutting down my lungs. I recall near collapse after a Minute Maid Diet Lemon-Lime pop once. There is apparently no rhyme or reason to the degree of the reaction so if you have had such a response you may want to confirm what it is all about and maybe just avoid driving, say, when you have this product or that. For example, Mars bars go down like shots of whisky for me. They have since I was a kid. It was only when I was about 25 when I realized this was not part of their universal charm.

steve's picture
steve on February 14, 2006 - 15:46 Permalink

Hey Pete:

With my various nut allergies I have noticed problems with some chocolate. The “may contain traces of peanuts” has never been a problem for me, but some fancy chocolate uses cashews or hazelnuts as a base, and that’s when I notice. However it is totally weird that the first bit didn’t give you trouble. Maybe it was some kind of weird chemical reaction. You should check to see if you now have powers like spiderman.