Looking for safer chocolate

Chocolate contaminated

This news report was depressing!


Dearest and I have been sticking to dark chocolate for our treats, because it’s supposed to be good for you. On the plus side, we’re not eating cookies, pie and ice cream hardly ever any more, so that’s good. On the minus side, it seems we have been buying brands contaminated with lead and cadmium. ARGH!

This is not an academic issue for me. I spent weeks going through lead detoxification treatment once years ago; it was non-stop horrible until it was over, then it was amazing how much better I felt than before I’d started. So, no, thank you to lead in my food.

But there are a huge number of chocolate brands and only a small number that have been tested for metals. Plus, some of the companies had bars on the bad lists and some on the good lists, so how could I ever trust ANY of their bars? It’s all kinda scary and frustrating.


I went through the chocolate we had on hand and threw out the Ghiardelli. Then I noticed the one we recently tried for the first time and LOVED – Divine 70% Dark Chocolate – was not on any tested list (good or bad). But the label said it was FAIR TRADE, so I did some digging on that score and found a web page about fair trade chocolate.

Funny thing … it looks to me like the companies with metal contaminants are the same companies on the “not recommended” lists because of little things like buying chocolate where slavery and child labor are practiced.


I noticed one interesting caveat to this site’s list. A company named Edensoy was on their recommended list, then had a slash put through their name with a link added that went to an article about how the company is trying to opt out of the Obamacare birth control mandate.

Sometimes the Left is so hypocritical about their issues. I’d bet anything these people are mostly on-board with micro-managing carbon levels in the air that probably are not harming the planet in any way, but apparently have no problem turning a blind eye to the environmental damage that birth control pills are actually causing.



Filed under Health & Nutrition

20 responses to “Looking for safer chocolate

  1. Ting

    This is the worst news of the year so far. How will I ever cope? 🙂 Thanks for the heads up.


  2. END OF DAYS!!!!!
    *wails* oh, whatever shall become of me!!


  3. I’m a little skeptical of this list. They should publish the actual levels found instead of just saying it violates California standards for drinking water. California standards have been a standing joke for decades, especially since the water in many places, like the SFBA are quite high in mercury, for example, and have to be exempted. I know that the water I drink has tiny levels of lead and cadmium in it, and it satisfies FDA safe levels, but almost no water anywhere satisfies California’s standards.

    Further, the list clearly is correlated by amount of cacao present. With a very few exceptions, all the really dark chocolate is in the not-safe list and the milk chocolates are on the safe list. That’s expected, since cocoa is a refined product made from a bean or nut. ALL nut products have similarly higher concentrations of heavy metals (in trace levels). It’s just the nature of the food. You can’t get away from it.

    Chrissy, I understand your particular sensitivity to toxins and know others who have to watch closely. I get that you want to avoid all you can, but this list seems in danger of being rather arbitrary at these extremely low levels. To the point where I’m not sure it makes sense to throw away a product on one list and buy one on the other. For example, I wouldn’t throw away the Girardelli 72% and buy their 85% (which is on the safe list), because they buy from multiple sources regularly. A higher level of cadmium could move through their products at various times and the testing could end up being reversed at a later date. And everyone buys cocoa from the same few dozen suppliers (generally), so this could happen across brands, as well.

    On the other hand, you might be onto something with the fair-trade brands being more responsible in general and having lower levels for the reason that they might come from areas not over-producing and depleting the land and so forth. I think that’s a good thing to know. And I like the post. It’s good to know about these contaminants in dark chocolate. I just think those guys could have been more scientific with their list and its interpretation.

    Of course, I might just be extra critical because I haven’t had enough chocolate this afternoon! 😉


    • chrissythehyphenated

      I had many of the same thoughts you did, Grunt, and debated back and forth and back and forth about posting anything. I found quite a bit of talk at Consumer Labs about this though and that seemed a bit more attention-worthy than some lab in California. However, I didn’t want to join to see their actual lab reports. I got the idea they did publish their real data, not just a list of this bar or that bar. And their lists of safe included some of the bars the California lab had said were not, so definitely needing some salt with all this info. I only decided to blog when I noticed the less-safe brands that we have been purchasing (Ghirardelli, Green and Black’s) were on the not-recommended lists for Fair Trade. Funny thing is … D and I had just this week decided this new Divine bar we tried, which is Fair Trade and non-GMO (small farmer’s coop in Ghana) was the best chocolate we’d ever eaten. So apart from chucking out 1/3 of a bar of Ghiardelli, I think we’re just going to do what we were going to do anyway … stick to Divine. 🙂 You can’t beat the name anyway, right? :))


  4. Are the contaminants in raw unsweetened cocoa as well?


  5. chrissythehyphenated

    This blog produced a couple comments along the lines of Grunt’s in my email and Facebook versions. Reproducing below FYI.


  6. chrissythehyphenated

    From Facebook:

    I have gotten to the point that I no longer take anything Natural News says seriously. All they do now is scaremonger, just like Mercola with “by the way OUR PRODUCT tested out just fine”.
    This reminds me of the fluoride in the tea scare. Well it seems the soils that are good for growing tea leaves tend to have fluoride in them so traces will appear in the tea. (take your iodine and don’t worry about drinking green tea)

    It could be the same for chocolate. Maybe these are naturally occurring elements in soil that is conducive to growing cocoa beans.

    I don’t think God made a mistake when he created plants.
    Back to my chocolate…


  7. chrissythehyphenated

    From email:

    The first clue the playing field is not level is given away in the first sentence of your graphic: “…an independent lab in California…” Those regressive blowholes would find the Holy Mary Mother of God had unacceptable levels of contaminants, because, you know, that’s what they do: they look for contaminants in everyone else’s underwear except their own. Screw ‘em, and keep eating chocolate. Avoid milk chocolate, and good call on Ghiardelli; any food company that puts out an ad making a woman looks like she’s having an orgasm while nibbling the junk they manufacture will never get my vote on anything. We gobble up Trader Joe’s 75% by the pound, along with Honey Crisp apples, and mangoes. What could be better?


    • Well, Ghirardelli IS a San Fransisco company. I think. If you go up to their store on Nobb Hill, seeing orgasm faces might be the least of your worries! 😉


      • chrissythehyphenated

        Huh … like that time D and I wandered into a cafe in P-town with the baby. I had to use the ladies, so bolted while he was going to get a table and a high chair. When I came out, he was standing with the stroller, facing the outside door. “We’re leaving!” I felt guilty, cuz of the stupid sign (Don’t use the bathroom if you aren’t going to eat here), but he said, kinda desperately, “LOOK AT THE WALLS.” Oh. My. Goodness. Floor to ceiling, wall to wall murals of gay sex. I think P-town used to be a nice place to visit … but that ended some time before we went, which was way back in 1982!