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Monday, April 2, 2012

Chocolate that Leaves a Bad Taste

My old friend Wayne brought up a salient point about chocolate. In West Africa, the production of cocoa often includes child and slave labor. West Africa produces the majority of chocolate that the rest of the world enjoys.

A simple overview of what's going on is here:

Here is the list of ethical chocolate makers, provided by slave free

Denman Island Chocolate
Divine Chocolate Co
The Endangered Species Chocolate Company
Equal Exchange
Green and Black’s
Health by Chocolate
L.A. Burdick Chocolates
La Siembra Cooperative (Camino)
Max Havelaar
Montezuma’s Chocolates
Newman’s Own Organics
Original Hawaiian Chocolate
Plamil Organic Chocolate
Rain Republic
Rapunzel Pure Organics
Seed & Bean Chocolate
Shaman Chocolates
Sweet Earth Chocolates
Terra Nostra Organic
Theo Chocolate
Tony Chocolonely
Trader Joe’s Organic Chocolate Bars
Vivani Chocolate

I'm disheartened to see that my three favored brands, Ghirardelli, Callebaut and Lindt, are not among them. I also note the absence of both Hershey's and Nestle's, maybe the largest international chocolatiers, and M&M/Mars. So much for hugs and kisses. So much for Cadbury eggs. So much for Snickers. Until these companies do the right thing, I can easily pass up their "treats".

A more detailed list of companies that use slave-free cocoa or are working on getting there is available here
(at least Callebaut is working on it)
Note that there are several "green" and PC-type companies on the non-recommended lists.

Well, this changes some things. The Easter chocolate I was going to gift will take a bit more effort to locate. But knowing what I know, I can't happily give a gift that's been made with slave and/or child labor.

Thank you for the heads up, Wayne. We all do better when we all do better.


Anonymous said...

And we all do better when we know more.

Austan said...

Amen, Lawless.
I just switched my Amazon order from Ghirardelli to Newman's. Cheaper, too.

CarrieBoo said...

This is really getting annoying; they have to ruin everything. We don't buy much chocolate and luckily I haven't bought Easter chocolate yet. Hershey's. *sob*

Austan said...

Carrie- Yeah, it sucks that they suck. My money means something to me, and they now join Waldemort and Coca-Cola as corporations who don't get my money.

paulg said...

Yeah, this is a bummer, but at the same time, better to be consuming with ones eyes open and have the choice whether to do the right thing or not.

Austan said...

Paul! Absolutely. I don't/won't knowingly support bad things. It's good to know the right from the wrong.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Thanks for the heads up. Guess I won't be buying any more Hershey bars with almonds... or semi-sweet bars. Oh well. Jelly beans and licorice suit me just fine.

Austan said...

Susan- It's kinda lousy to learn these things about our own US companies. Hershey's has been under scrutiny for immigrant labor suspicions, too. Oh well, there are other chocolates around. And jelly beans rock!

Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

You've pricked my conscience.

I normally don't even think about "Fair trade" in the rare moments when I buy chocolate.
I'm diabetic, so I never (actually just very, very rarely) eat the stuff, although I do buy the odd bit for my Beloved. I'll think more carefully next time.

Is the Fair trade stuff much more expensive? (I'm a Scot, and money matters)

Austan said...

TSB- It's really not, unless you're talking about the crappy sort of chocolate (sorry Hershey) which is little better than sweetened wax. I just ordered Newman's, and found it cheaper than the "fancy" slave-trade brands I was looking at. Though I'd always thought of it as needlessly pricey (I'm of Scottish extraction, and Swedish, so think how cheap I am!), it isn't. And it's good.

Wayne Kernochan said...

Thank you for this. I have a friend in the Slave Free chocolate movement, and, the stories are horrendous. They won't be doing that in my name, and, obviously, not in yours. Your friends rock :)

Love to all

Austan said...

Wayne- Thank you for spreading the truth. I had no idea this was happening and I think a lot of people don't know. As much as we can let the world know, we must.
My friends do rock- you're one of them! ;)
Love to you and E, always.