Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Some treats are all tricks -- chocolate and child slave labor

So, it turns out most of the chocolate candy we eat was produced using the work of children, who are unpaid and exploited, in Africa. I had already known that most chocolate is contaminated with lead (even organic) from processing it, and that it's usually loaded with pesticides, sugar, and soy (which gives me migraines). In fact, I had figured with all the nastiness in it, that it's hard to say whether the additives, the lead, the pesticides, or what give me migraines unless I tried pure raw cacao and saw whether it gave me migraine. Anyway, now it turns out that there is a new Nestle boycott (on top of the ongoing boycott of Nestle for its formula advertising, which is still in violation of the World Health Organization guidelines and ethics in general) because they, among others, are using forced child labor to harvest their chocolate.
So this Halloween, if you must give out chocolate, make sure it's fair trade chocolate!
Does anyone know if there is any raw, organic lead-free cacao that is also fair trade?

1 comment:

Mike Brady said...

I'm not sure about the lead question, but you can find chocolates ranked by their 'ethiscore' at This page may not always display the chocolate rankings, so look for 'chocolate' on this page
to try to find it if it has gone.

Nestlé Yorkie bar (not sure if this is a UK specific product) scores an impressive 0 out of a possible 20.

I've wrote on Nestlé and slave labour on my blog at last month when it was sponsoring a meeting at the Labour Party Conference on slavery, the week after apparently refusing to attend a public meeting in the US over its failure to act on child slavery in its cocoa supply chain. This links to an interview with Bama Athreya of the International Labour Rights Fund, which may be of interest.

Anyway, hope this helps and keep on spreading the word. Nestlé hates it and the more its image and sales suffer, the sooner it will change its practices.