Bad News: Heavy metals found in dark chocolate including Hershey’s and Trader Joe’s

To see how much of a risk these favorite treats pose, Consumer Reports scientists recently measured the amount of heavy metals in 28 dark chocolate bars. They detected cadmium and lead in all of them. Credit: Melissa Paterno Plonchak/Consumer Reports, Getty Images

Dark chocolate is beloved by many and is well-known for its health benefits. However, cacao trees are threatened by climate change and disease. CBS News reports a new threat in a study done by Consumer Reports: they found “heavy metals in 28 popular brands of dark chocolate bars and found cadmium and lead in all of them.” An ounce a day for 23 of the 28 bars “would put an adult over a level for at least one of the metals that could be harmful.” How is it happening? A combination of heavy metals in the soil and lead dust coating drying beans. 

Being exposed to even a small amount of heavy metal over time can cause a long list of health challenges, including hypertension, kidney damage and problems with the reproductive, nervous and immune systems. Fortunately, the 5 bars which did not contain dangerously high levels of heavy metals are proof that producers can make products safe for their consumers.

The safer options are:
Mast Organic Dark Chocolate 80% Cocoa
Taza Chocolate Organic Deliciously Dark Chocolate 70% Cacao
Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate 86% Cacao
Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate Twilight Delight
Valrhona Abinao Dark Chocolate 85% Cacao

Two examples of unsafe choices include:
Hershey’s Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate
Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate 72% Cacao.

See the full list from Consumer Reports.

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