Consumer Reports has called on leading dark chocolate makers today to reduce the level of dangerous heavy metals in their products after they found concerning amounts of lead and cadmium in some of their offerings. In letters accompanied by nearly 55,000 signatures, CR urged Trader Joe’s, Hershey’s, Mondelez, and Theo to make a commitment to take action by Valentine’s Day.
Consumer Reports scientists measured the amount of heavy metals in 28 dark chocolate bars and detected cadmium and lead in all of them. For 23 of the bars, eating just one ounce a day would put an adult over a level that public health authorities and CR’s experts say may be harmful for at least one of those heavy metals.
Five of the bars were above those levels for both cadmium and lead: Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate 85% cacao; Lily’s Extremely Dark Chocolate 85% cocoa (owned by Hershey’s). Theo Organic Pure Dark Chocolate 70% cocoa; Theo Extra Dark Pure Dark Chocolate 85% cocoa. and Green & Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate 70% cacao (owned by Modelez).
Consistent, long-term exposure to even small amounts of heavy metals can lead to a variety of health problems. The danger is greatest for pregnant people and young children because the metals can cause developmental problems, affect brain development, and lead to lower IQ.
Our guest, Kevin Loria is a Senior Health Reporter for Consumer Reports.