Q: I have a question about food safety. My sister-in-law gave my family four boxes of Anthony-Thomas chocolates and several tins of cookies, which had been in the trunk of her car for about 6 hours on a scorching hot day. Is it safe to eat them?
Kathie Miller, Columbus, Ohio

A: The chocolates, while they may not look as pretty as they once did, are fine to eat.

Chocolate (and candy in general) has a very low moisture content. Since moisture is needed to sustain bacterial growth, chocolate is not susceptible to spoilage the way other foods are. The high sugar content also acts as a preservative and, along with the dry environment, will ensure that the candy is safe.

The same rule applies to baked goods such as cookies.

Daniel Fiorini, director of quality for Anthony-Thomas, said the only candies that would be a concern are the companys truffles, which contain more moisture.

The temperature fluctuations will cause some discoloration, known as bloom, on the chocolates, but they are safe.

It will look ugly if it has been temperature abused, Fiorini said.

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