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Food - Drink
Consumer Reports Found Lead In Dark Chocolate From Trader Joe's, Lindt, And More
When Consumer Reports tested a sample of 28 chocolate bars for heavy metals, they found lead and cadmium in all of them: 23 had enough in one ounce of chocolate to be considered unsafe for consumption, and the other five had harmful levels of both metals. Affected brands include Hershey's, Trader Joe's, Dove, Ghirardelli, Lindt, and many others.
The study used California's Maximum Allowable Dose Level, which is 0.5 micrograms (mcg) for lead and 4.1 mcg for cadmium. Brands like Lindt, Dove, and others tested highest for cadmium, while others like Lindt, Trader Joe's, and Hershey's tested high in lead, and certain Trader Joe's chocolate bars tested high for both lead and cadmium.
However, the National Confectioners Association (NCA) provided a statement on the study that detailed their previous investigation of these cadmium and lead levels, concluding that the levels found in the chocolate were safe to consume. They explained these levels were in accordance with guidelines established back in 2018.
The heavy metals come from the soil where cocoa plants are grown, and since cocoa beans are coated with a sticky pulp, the lead-contaminated soil sticks to them once being processed and is thus transferred to the chocolate bars. Cadmium, on the other hand, enters the cocoa beans through their roots via the soil.
Toxicologist Michael J. DiBartolomeis, Ph.D. suggests two solutions: the first involves replacing older cacao trees or relocating them (since cadmium levels increase as plants age), and the other is to genetically breed coca plants to absorb less cadmium. Unfortunately, neither solution would take effect for a long time, but the NCA hopes to see changes within the next year.