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We Need Safer Chocolate Now!

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Heavy metals pose serious health risks to children and adults. These dangers do not belong in our chocolate!


Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, and many other special days are celebrated with gifts of chocolate from loved ones. Dark chocolate, in particular, is a favorite among many. However, recent testing conducted by Consumer Reports1 has revealed alarmingly high levels of cadmium and lead in popular brands of chocolate bars.

This discovery raises serious concerns about the health risks associated with consuming chocolate.

Out of the 28 different dark chocolate bars tested from popular brands, only five were found to have levels of contaminants that would be considered safe for daily consumption of one ounce1.

Some well-known brands like Tony's, Lindt, Hershey's, and Hu were among those found to contain relatively high levels of lead1. The exposure to lead has been linked to cognitive impairment, especially in children, as it can lead to developmental issues and lower IQ2 In adults, it can result in reproductive problems, high blood pressure, and neurological complications3.

In addition to lead, high levels of cadmium were detected in products from Lindt, Dove, Beyond Good, and others1. Cadmium is considered a cancer-causing mineral, and prolonged exposure has been associated with kidney disease and fragile bones4.

Consumer Reports found one dark chocolate bar from Trader Joe's with high levels of both lead and cadmium. The higher presence of heavy metals in dark chocolate compared to milk chocolate can be attributed to its higher cacao content, which can be contaminated either from the soil where it is grown or during post-harvest processing1.

While there may be no current federal limits for lead and cadmium in most foods5, it is imperative that manufacturers take responsibility and proactively address these potential health hazards. Consumers also play a crucial role by advocating for safer products and making informed choices to minimize their exposure. By raising awareness about the risks and demanding accountability from the industry, we can strive towards a safer and healthier future, ensuring that the enjoyment of chocolate does not come at the expense of our well-being.

Hershey's Chief Financial Officer has acknowledged the presence of lead and cadmium in their dark chocolate bars and expressed a desire to eradicate these heavy metals completely. This is an encouraging sign that Hershey's is willing to address this issue6. However, it is crucial for the company to publicly commit to a specific timeline for taking action.

Join us in signing the petition urging The Hershey Company to take immediate action and eliminate the presence of harmful lead and cadmium from their dark chocolate bars. By adding your name to this petition, you are advocating for safer chocolate consumption among many others who share the same concern.

Take action today! Together, let's demand safer chocolate and ensure that every indulgence comes without compromising our health. Sign the petition now and make a difference!

More on this issue:

  1. Kevin Loria, Consumer Reports (15 December 2022), "Lead and Cadmium Could Be in Your Dark Chocolate."
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics (2023), "Lead Exposure."
  3. Abdullah A. Alghasham, Abdel-Raheim M.A. Meki, Hisham A.S. Ismail, International Journal of Health Sciences (January 2011), "Association of Blood Lead level with Elevated Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Patients."
  4. National Cancer Institute (D M Y), "Cadmium."
  5. Mahdi Balali-Mood, Kobra Naseri, Zoya Tahergorabi, Mohammad Reza Khazdair, Mahmood Sadeghi, Frontiers in Pharmacology (13 April 2021), "Toxic Mechanisms of Five Heavy Metals: Mercury, Lead, Chromium, Cadmium, and Arsenic."
  6. Jessica DiNapoli, Reuters (23 March 2023), "Hershey looking to remove lead, cadmium from chocolate -CFO."
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The Petition:

To the CEO of The Hershey Company,

I am writing as a concerned consumer and passionate advocate for the health and well-being of individuals around the world. I am reaching out to you today to urge The Hershey Company to take immediate and decisive action in reducing lead and cadmium levels in your chocolate bars.

As one of the largest and most influential chocolate companies globally, The Hershey Company holds immense power to shape the industry's practices and set higher standards for product safety and quality. Your commitment to consumer safety and well-being is paramount, and your actions can serve as a catalyst for positive change throughout the chocolate industry.

The recent findings by Consumer Reports regarding alarmingly high levels of lead and cadmium in popular dark chocolate bars have deeply shaken consumers like myself. The health risks associated with these heavy metals are significant and cannot be overlooked. Lead exposure has been linked to cognitive impairment, especially in children, leading to developmental issues and lower IQ. Adults exposed to lead may face reproductive problems, high blood pressure, and neurological complications. Similarly, cadmium, a cancer-causing mineral, has been associated with kidney disease and fragile bones.

While I understand that the presence of lead and cadmium in chocolate can occur naturally, it is crucial for The Hershey Company to prioritize the safety of your consumers and take proactive steps to minimize these harmful elements in your products. Your commitment to eradicating lead and cadmium completely, as expressed by your Chief Financial Officer, is an encouraging sign. However, it is imperative that The Hershey Company publicly commits to a specific timeline for taking action.

By reducing lead and cadmium levels in your chocolate bars, you will not only protect the health of millions of consumers but also set an example for other chocolate makers to follow. As an industry leader, your actions will have a ripple effect, prompting other manufacturers to prioritize consumer safety and well-being.

Furthermore, I urge The Hershey Company to work closely with cocoa bean suppliers and implement stringent quality control measures throughout the cocoa supply chain. By doing so, you can exert pressure on farmers to adopt safer agricultural practices and minimize the presence of heavy metals in the soil. This approach not only ensures the health of consumers but also supports the well-being of cocoa farmers and their communities.

I understand that the process of reducing lead and cadmium levels in chocolate bars may pose technical and logistical challenges. However, the stakes are too high to delay action. The well-being of countless individuals is at risk, and we cannot afford to compromise their health and future.

Therefore, I respectfully request The Hershey Company to:

  1. Publicly commit to a specific timeline for reducing lead and cadmium levels in all chocolate bars produced and distributed by The Hershey Company.
  2. Implement rigorous quality control measures and source cocoa beans from suppliers who prioritize safety and adhere to strict agricultural practices.
  3. Regularly test and monitor lead and cadmium levels in chocolate bars to ensure compliance with the lowest possible limits.
  4. Transparently share your progress and efforts in reducing lead and cadmium levels with consumers, stakeholders, and the general public.

As a loyal consumer and a concerned citizen, I believe in The Hershey Company's potential to lead the industry towards a safer and healthier future. By taking bold steps to reduce lead and cadmium levels in your chocolate bars, you will not only protect the health and well-being of your consumers but also inspire other chocolate makers

Sincerely,

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