Apparently some people are snorting raw chocolate powder like it's snuff. Rather than pointing out that chocolate is so much more fun to eat, meddlesome Sen. Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.) wants the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate it.
Meet Coko Loko, a snortable raw cacao concoction that also includes caffeine powder and other (perfectly legal) ingredients associated with energy drinks. Given the open and relatively cheap access to these products, it's not exactly clear why anybody would prefer an awkward snuff-influenced delivery system (it's faster, apparently), but that's a marketplace issue. If people want to buy chocolate and snort it up their nose, that's their business.
That's not good enough for Schumer. Coco Loko got a recent burst of media publicity, which has prompted Schumer to send a letter to the FDA over the weekend to demand that they do something about people doing things he doesn't want them to.
His complaint (via USA Today):
"This suspect product has no clear health value," he said in a statement. "I can't think of a single parent who thinks it is a good idea for their children to be snorting over-the-counter stimulants up their noses."
It may be a struggle for us to visualize a child who would rather shove chocolate up his or her nose rather than eat it, but we lack the capacity to see the citizenry as a collection of hapless Ralph Wiggums the way Schumer does.
Coko Loko is sold online for about $20 per small container, each of which holds about 10 doses; it is also available in some shops. That price is a pretty clear indicator that kids aren't going to be getting their hands on it easily. They can get 15 Kit Kat bars for that! This is not unlike the absurd belief that kids are going to regularly get their hands on costly marijuana edibles that look like candy.
But Schumer's "for the children" complaint is really about his regulatory war on powdered caffeine and the general panic about anything that is connected to energy-drink-like concoctions. Reason's Jacob Sullum has regularly taken note of the exaggerated fearmongering around energy drinks. Caffeine powder on its own can potentially be dangerous. But in the case of Coko Loko, we're dealing with much smaller amounts.
Apparently the product's creator got the idea from Europe, where snortable cacao is apparently a thing and has been sold there for a while, according to a Denver Post report.
The Post already turned to the FDA to see if it is going to meddle in the sales, even before Schumer started yelling about it. It's not yet clear whether the government is going to try to stop you from putting chocolate up your nose, but it is clear that it believes it has the power to do so if it so chooses.
Schumer's miserable need to interfere in your consumption choices doesn't end with caffeine. He frequently uses his powerful position as a senator to call for bans on anything he finds troublesome, from laser pointers to violent video games to virtual currencies. Indeed, his inane insistence on the federal government's role in monitoring what people put into their bodies landed him on Reason's list of enemies of freedom.
If you're actually curious about Coko Loko, here's a fellow trying it out on YouTube: