Lead and Cadmium Could Be in Your Dark Chocolate
January 5, 2023 10:10 AM   Subscribe

Consumer Reports found dangerous heavy metals in chocolate from Hershey's, Theo, Trader Joe's and other popular brands. Here are the ones that had the most, and some that are safer.

Some tips from the article. Visit article to read more:

* Choose dark chocolates with the lowest levels of heavy metals. 
* Treat chocolate as a treat. 
* Don’t assume organic dark chocolates are safer. 
* Don’t give kids much dark chocolate. 
* Think about your total chocolate consumption.
* Eat a well-rounded diet. 

Dietary Strategies for the Treatment of Cadmium and Lead Toxicity
We have summarised the literature on potential dietary supplements for Cd and Pb toxicity. Based on these published reports, we recommend that people who are at risk of exposure to toxic metals ensure a sufficient intake of essential elements and vitamins and enhance their consumption of vegetables and fruit (Figure 1). Some edible plants, such as tomatoes (rich in iron, calcium, selenium, zinc, vitamins B and C, quercetin and naringenin), berries (rich in essential elements, vitamin C, anthocyanin and catechin), onions (rich in selenium, quercetin and vitamins B and C), garlics (rich in sulphur-containing compounds, essential elements and vitamins C and E) and grapes (rich in vitamins, essential elements and anthocyanin) are of special importance as natural antagonists to Cd and Pb toxicity and should be consumed on a regular basis. These dietary supplements are an affordable option, with fewer side effects than chelation therapy, for the billions of people around the world who are inadvertently exposed to toxic metals on a daily basis [118]. In addition, with the increasing contamination of the food chain, the accumulation of Cd and Pb in edible animals can present an indirect route of heavy metal poisoning in humans [1]. Therefore, providing livestock and farmed fish with the above-mentioned food interventions may also be helpful to reduce Cd and Pb exposure in humans.
posted by aniola (66 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, that sucks.
posted by terrapin at 10:17 AM on January 5 [13 favorites]


But lead seems to get into cacao after beans are harvested. The researchers found that the metal was typically on the outer shell of the cocoa bean, not in the bean itself. Moreover, lead levels were low soon after beans were picked and removed from pods but increased as beans dried in the sun for days. During that time, lead-filled dust and dirt accumulated on the beans. “We collected beans on the ground that were heavily loaded with lead on the outer shell,” DiBartolomeis says. 
Less euphemistically, I'm pretty sure I've heard that it's common to dry cocoa beans on the side of the road.
posted by aniola at 10:18 AM on January 5 [8 favorites]


* Think about your total chocolate consumption
No, you can't make me.

Also, I read this article last week, and had many questions about the methodology. Did they test multiple bars from each brand? Or was one bar expected to be a representative sample from the brand? It seems like these measurements could vary a lot from bar to bar, given that it seems to be mostly due to environmental factors during the production of the beans.
posted by jferg at 10:18 AM on January 5 [6 favorites]


They link to the test methodology. It is here.
posted by aniola at 10:21 AM on January 5 [8 favorites]


I've got several of these exact listed bars sitting half nommed around my house right now, and the real question is: do I actually care. I mean really.

I'm not saying should we care (yes), or should others care (probably), but do I personally as someone with probably already x3 lifetime max of dark chocolate consumption in them already at 37, actually care enough to change my ways. I think I know the answer.

Dear AskMetafilter, how fast will I die eating my metal chocolate? Thanks.
posted by phunniemee at 10:29 AM on January 5 [40 favorites]


phunniemee, I've decided I don't care. Considering I have a lead water line servicing my house, I'm already getting dosed so I'm kind of eh about it. If I had kids I'd probably be more careful (about both the water line and the chocolate) for them.
posted by misskaz at 10:32 AM on January 5 [2 favorites]


as a 50-something adult who has lived in cities my entire adult life, I don't care.

is it important? absolutely!! if I had children I would take their chocolate consumption very seriously. but for myself? nah. I eat dark chocolate, not every day, not too much (due to caloric intake). but I have been exposed to so many harmful substances, sometimes of my own volition! to worry about a particularly delicious one.

in happier news!! cheese is healthy! woooo!!!!
posted by supermedusa at 10:46 AM on January 5 [9 favorites]


Yum.
posted by Melismata at 10:46 AM on January 5


I am somehow reminded of my late grandmother, who, whenever someone told her that something she loved was bad for her would come back with: "You know what else causes cancer? Shenanigans."

I swear to God, I loved that woman.
posted by thivaia at 10:59 AM on January 5 [76 favorites]


I'm surprised they haven't been charging extra for it.
posted by Gelatin at 11:00 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


My usual consumer choices check out OK. Win?
posted by djseafood at 11:04 AM on January 5


The tips all come down to: This is up to you as a US consumer to deal with it as opposed to, say, getting proper regulations to having this regulated or if not outright banned.

I don't believe this applies to EU chocolate which has actual regulations on food?
posted by vacapinta at 11:09 AM on January 5 [39 favorites]


Yeah this sucks.
Recent Liver Issues™ forced me to change a lot of stuff to the point where thinking about food (that I couldn't have anymore) made me sad. The doctor sent me a handout with lists of good and bad choices that said things like
learn to say to yourself: "I don't eat that" and "that's not food"
which I will now say in a sort of ironic but mostly not, sorry-for-myself sad robot voice if anyone asks if I want a piece of cake or whatever: that's not food. I don't eat that.
Anyhow, dark chocolate and coffee (latest info from liver doc says 2-3 cups a day is good for your liver!) were on the list of acceptable things so I'm all about espresso, and dark chocolate has become our once a day after dinner watching tv kind of treat, which now I guess is another bad habit that's filling me full of toxic metal.
posted by chococat at 11:11 AM on January 5 [5 favorites]


Death metal dark chocolate: garage tribute band, or tasty treat?
posted by Tailkinker to-Ennien at 11:21 AM on January 5 [4 favorites]


The tips all come down to: This is up to you as a US consumer to deal with it as opposed to, say, getting proper regulations to having this regulated or if not outright banned.

Like, I know how much lead and cadmium are in my cannabis edibles because they're tested by the manufacturer (allegedly, but that's an issue for another thread). Why do I have to rely on goddamn Consumer Reports to test my supermarket chocolate?
posted by uncleozzy at 11:24 AM on January 5 [16 favorites]


learn to say to yourself: "I don't eat that" and "that's not food"
which I will now say in a sort of ironic but mostly not, sorry-for-myself sad robot voice if anyone asks if I want a piece of cake or whatever: that's not food. I don't eat that.


Geez, who did they hire to write this, Nurse Ratched?
posted by praemunire at 11:25 AM on January 5 [16 favorites]


Guittard & Callebaut are mostly okay, whew.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:26 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


it seems to be mostly due to environmental factors during the production of the beans.

More than one environmental factor. Cadmium from the soil. Lead I already talked about, but to expand on that, I wonder if the lead in chocolate will go away if they retest in a few years. Leaded Gasoline Use in Vehicles Has Now Officially Ended Worldwide. Great news for all the folks living in the places where the cocoa is grown and processed!
posted by aniola at 11:30 AM on January 5 [12 favorites]


Some apes are trying to live forever but have you seen how the future is gonna be? Everything is poison, might as well enjoy the delicious ones, dutifully get your representatives to ignore you on regulation and any other desired action, and consider it a bonus you get a few days off early in the bunkers in 20XX when you die marginally earlier from consumption of anything.
posted by GoblinHoney at 11:43 AM on January 5 [2 favorites]


When you’re a metals civilization, you’re a metals civilization all the way.

I ate masses of chocolate as a kid, and I’m sure things were even worse back then.

I gave it all up when I started drinking coffee in my late 20s — but coffee is grown in a lot of the same countries as cocoa, and also has a very similar drying on the ground step in processing.
posted by jamjam at 11:45 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


the first good news I've had from the late-in-life-developing chocolate allergy I'm saddled with
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 11:46 AM on January 5 [6 favorites]


Geez, who did they hire to write this, Nurse Ratched?
Oh man, that's not even the worst of it.
There's things like "it's fine to have grandma's perogies once a year on a special occasion, but donuts aren't special" to which I thought
THE FUCK THEY AREN'T
posted by chococat at 11:56 AM on January 5 [27 favorites]


From the article: Even if you aren’t a frequent consumer of chocolate, lead and cadmium can still be a concern. It can be found in many other foods—such as sweet potatoes, spinach, and carrots—and small amounts from multiple sources can add up to dangerous levels. That’s why it’s important to limit exposure when you can.

So, limit exposure to sweet potatoes, spinach, and carrots. Got it.
posted by wondermouse at 12:05 PM on January 5 [9 favorites]


So what does this mean, in practical terms? As far as I can tell, abso-fucking-lutely NOTHING.

(The following is based on a few minutes of googling, so toxicologists, please chime in. Also, I just looked at lead, but assume the cadmium is on the same order of magnitude.)

The lead levels are relative to "California's maximum allowable dose level (MADL) for lead (0.5 micrograms)". Note that the California No Significant Risk Level (NSRL) for lead is 15 micrograms.

"The NSRL is a daily intake level calculated to result in one excess case of cancer in an exposed population of 100,000 assuming lifetime exposure. The MADL is the level at which the chemical would have no observable adverse reproductive effect assuming exposure at 1,000 times that level."

The highest lead amounts they report are 265 percent of the MADL, or 1.3 micrograms. So that's still about 1/300 of the amount observed to cause reproductive effects. And it's less than 10 percent of the NSRL, so if you ate an ounce of that chocolate every day, there's about a 1 in a million chance that it would cause cancer. (Or more accurately, if a million people ate an ounce of this candy daily, there would be one additional case of cancer.)

Would it be better if the levels were lower, as opposed to higher? Sure. How much better? In all likelihood, something indistinguishable from zero.

No doubt about it: Lead exposure, especially among children, and especially among poor children, is a huge public health problem that causes untold suffering. We need way more efforts, and billions of dollars more in government funding, to get rid of lead paint and other sources of lead poisoning, and to test and treat children whose lives are being destroyed by lead poisoning. What we don't need is headline-grabbing scaremongering.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 12:10 PM on January 5 [20 favorites]


The real proof in isn’t in the pudding, it’s the lead and cadmium levels in the blood of those who ate the pudding. Is there any detectable difference between people who did and did not eat dark chocolate? These articles don’t say. This seems to just be the “[in mice]” of food fearmongering clickbait.

disclaimer: I spent about 5 years as a chocolate professional, but my business closed and I no longer have any financial ties to chocolate at all
posted by Jon_Evil at 12:16 PM on January 5 [6 favorites]


And of course, someone is already suing Trader Joe's about this. #thisiswhywecanthavenicethings
posted by Mchelly at 12:22 PM on January 5


learn to say to yourself: "I don't eat that" and "that's not food"

So uh where does this doctor live, I just wanna talk.

Cake is fucking food. FOOD IS FOOD, for fuck's sake. I will absolutely fight, with fists and teeth, anyone who says elsewise.

Also yeah as someone who has been drinking water from leaded pipes for at least 40 years now I cannot possibly arse myself to change any of my habits re: heavy metals in chocolate. Or sushi! Or, like, air, because the air around my house is almost certainly laden with the stuff.

Gotta die of something! Or more plausibly, of a lot of things!
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:26 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


New life goal: die while in possession of so many unhealthy habits medical science is unable to even begin determining which was the fatal blow.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:27 PM on January 5 [25 favorites]


I don't believe this applies to EU chocolate which has actual regulations on food?

I was wondering about that. EU regs on permissible levels are here, updated just last month, no idea how long the EU has been on the qui vive. Lower than the numbers cite above for California, which got goosed into checking this out back in 2015. National Confectionaries Association put in their two cents regarding consumer report.

Listen to Rose, I say.
posted by BWA at 12:29 PM on January 5 [4 favorites]


My parents called me yesterday to tell me this. Metafilter, you've fallen behind mom and dad. Get on the ball.

It's kind of boggling to see so many "this is a giant nothingburger, don't tell me what to do" responses here. There is no valid reason to have high levels of lead or cadnium in chocolate. These are metals that bioaccumulate and are super shitty for you and you shouldn't be eating them unnecessarily. I don't mean "unnecessarily" as in "chocolate is unnecessary", I mean "unnecessarily" as in "there should not be heavy metals in chocolate". If you have two businesses producing chocolate and one has a 10x higher level of lead, one of those companies is doing something wrong, and they should fix their process.
posted by phooky at 12:37 PM on January 5 [28 favorites]


(What I'm trying to say if that if you're going to die due to eating chocolate, I'm going to recommend that instead of dying of heavy metal poisoning, you die of chocolate poisoning instead.)
posted by phooky at 12:41 PM on January 5 [10 favorites]


I can't get a handle on how this affects children. It bioaccumulates, and lead/cadmium don't really have a safe exposure level.

So our son eats the horrible Costco chocolate chip cookies. Craptons of chocolate in them, sourced from ???.

Assuming 2 cookies is 1/2 oz, how much of a problem Is that for a kid?
posted by Lord_Pall at 1:21 PM on January 5


I've decided I don't care. Considering I have a lead water line servicing my house, I

Consider that a diminished sympathy for people, including yourself, is a symptom of low-grade lead poisoning.
posted by mhoye at 1:35 PM on January 5 [11 favorites]


You can check the ingredients, but Costco chocolate chip cookies are presumably made with semi-sweet chocolate chips (you can check the ingredients list but those are the usual chips that are used). Semi-sweet chocolate is usually in the range of 35% to 60% cacao I believe (it will be cheaper to produce at the lower end of cacao percentage, so it is possible the Costco chips may be at the lower end?)

Consumer reports suggests when eating dark chocolate that you go for a lower cacao percentage to reduce risk, and dark chocolate has to be at least 65% cacao to be called dark chocolate, so you are already reducing the risk by eating semi-sweet rather than dark. Also, the cookies are not pure semi-sweet chocolate, so the risk is reduced even further because they just contain some chocolate chips.

(Milk chocolate is lower in cacao, and thus presumably lower in heavy metals, but it is higher in sugar.)
posted by gudrun at 1:37 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Here is a clear look at the weaknessess in Consumer Report's analysis by Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz, an epidemiologist

"the highest level of lead seen in the Consumer Reports data is about 1.3mcg/ounce. That’s nearly triple the Californian recommendation for workers exposed to dust, but it’s still about 10x lower than the threshold recommended by the FDA for consumption of food."

"the highest exposures they had for cadmium were about 10mcg/ounce. That’s more than double the California recommendation, but it’s less than half the European one, which is probably because the Californian government uses an extremely conservative threshold — remember, 1,000x lower than the level where the substance causes no noticeable effects on health. That doesn’t mean either one is right or wrong, exactly, but it does mean that this level of cadmium is considered safe for consumption in Europe."
posted by jebs at 1:44 PM on January 5 [15 favorites]


Here's some more background and context in an NPR article.

"Johns Hopkins Medicine toxicologist Andrew Stolbach told NPR that MADLs are set to be "very conservative" to account for people with higher risk due to their age and other medical conditions. When the chocolate is consumed in moderate amounts, the lead and cadmium levels are nothing to worry about, he says.

"The safety levels for lead and cadmium are set to be very protective, and going above them by a modest amount isn't something to be concerned about," he said. "If you make sure that the rest of your diet is good and sufficient in calcium and iron, you protect yourself even more by preventing absorption of some lead and cadmium in your diet.""

phooky - "There is no valid reason to have high levels of lead or cadnium in chocolate." Well, there is a potentially valid reason: that the costs aren't worth the benefits. If companies can do something to lower it, I agree that's good. But I don't see any reason for an individual to adjust their chocolate consumption.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 1:45 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


you make sure that the rest of your diet is good and sufficient in calcium and iron

yes yes I will make the good metals fight the bad metals
posted by phunniemee at 1:48 PM on January 5 [26 favorites]


Metafilter: " I no longer have any financial ties to chocolate"
posted by storybored at 1:54 PM on January 5 [7 favorites]


Lead matters a lot. I think environmental lead is perhaps the greatest modern social justice tragedy.

I'm not at all worried about lead in my chocolate after reading this, though I might a tiny tiny bit if I had kids.
posted by booooooze at 1:58 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


Consider that a diminished sympathy for people, including yourself, is a symptom of low-grade lead poisoning.

And then what? Travel back in time and not drink 42 years of poisoned water? Like what possible response could there be to this statement other than "Yep, fucking bummer, that, what can ya do"?

There are three possible responses to this article:
1) YELL A LOT
2) quit chocolate
3) Yep, fucking bummer, that, what can ya do.

The first requires a ton of energy toward persons and entities who are not in this thread at all, nor ever will be, and thus probably ends in no discernible improvement. The second sucks too much to contemplate. The third, thus, is quite well represented in the thread.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 2:16 PM on January 5 [7 favorites]


Death metal dark chocolate: garage tribute band, or tasty treat?

That ringing in your ears might just be metallosis.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:40 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


Theo’s noooooo! They are my old neighbors and I acquire their whiskey bonbons as the specialest treat semi annually.

As a very very dark chocolate consumer (is it dark chocolate if it’s not more than 80%? My mouth says not according to me) I am concerned. I may change my purchasing habits based on this, although I already changed it based on the whole chocolate slavery thing and let me tell you that was a journey. I’m not entirely sure which chocolate manufacturers are in the Venn diagram slice of low heavy metals and no human exploitation, let alone if there is a bonus of compensatory action for carbon emissions due to the international nature of the product. My favorite chocolate right now is from Marou, and I would be curious to know how they shake out in terms of heavy metals.

This isn’t going to change my consumption habits though, nor will I allow myself to feel an ounce of badness about what I choose or have chosen to eat. This is pretty squarely on the shitty oversight of the fermentation and grinding processes, the devaluing of the health of chocolate growers and workers, and a lack of testing in the production over all. Like, I know agricultural workers in general are extremely undervalued; why are we being told to care about what we put in our own bodies but not also to care about an industry that forces people to work unprotected in environments so laden with these metals? So, I’m going to continue treating my super dark chocolate bars like tiny glasses of fancy port and enjoy a chunk a few times a week, but I’m also going to keep an eye out and see if things improve at the companies who I know actually give a shit in the next few years. Theo’s, I’m looking at you.
posted by Mizu at 2:42 PM on January 5 [8 favorites]


This is pretty squarely on the shitty oversight of the fermentation and grinding processes, the devaluing of the health of chocolate growers and workers, and a lack of testing in the production over all. Like, I know agricultural workers in general are extremely undervalued; why are we being told to care about what we put in our own bodies but not also to care about an industry that forces people to work unprotected in environments so laden with these metals?

This is related to what I was thinking but didn't know how to say. The reason I would be less likely to buy chocolate now is because I care about the people who process fair- or direct-trade chocolate. Except that I think that with unleaded gasoline being gone or on the way out, lead exposure from exhaust will be increasingly limited. Huge kudos to whoever made that happen. And if the cadmium is coming from the soil the tree is grown in, my inexpert guess is that exposure to cadmium is less of an issue because cacao comes from trees, not annual plants.
posted by aniola at 2:57 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


why are we being told to care about what we put in our own bodies but not also to care about an industry that forces people to work unprotected in environments so laden with these metals?

Mizu, flagged your comment as excellent. And of course, this isn't just an issue with chocolate (I imagine), but many other foods largely cultivated in places that have gotten the short end of things. Another reason why rich people who think their wealth will protect them from the climate crisis are delusional.
posted by coffeecat at 3:04 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


why are we being told to care about what we put in our own bodies but not also to care about an industry that forces people to work unprotected in environments so laden with these metals?

People aren't paid to think deeply. They're paid to publish. Investigative journalism is awesome and I would love to see more of it.
posted by aniola at 3:20 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


Folks drinking through LSL, please get a filter.

Love,
Flint, Mi.
posted by clavdivs at 3:37 PM on January 5 [4 favorites]


I used to love dark chocolate, the darker the better. Then I got Covid last spring, lost my sense of smell for a couple weeks, and now I can’t eat it anymore. It now tastes bitter and awful to me. On the plus side I didn’t really like milk chocolate before and I love it now. Oh well. Less lead and cadmium for me I guess.
posted by fimbulvetr at 3:58 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


Death metal dark chocolate: garage tribute band, or tasty treat?

In 2001 I saw Godsmack play in Hershey Park, does that count?
posted by Mayor West at 4:10 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


posted by coffeecat
We should hang out.
posted by chococat at 4:31 PM on January 5 [20 favorites]


If you’re going to ingest that much cadmium, you might as well swallow five cents and become a battery.
posted by dr_dank at 4:47 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


I don't eat enough chocolate for this to be a worry for me.

From the article: Even if you aren’t a frequent consumer of chocolate, lead and cadmium can still be a concern. It can be found in many other foods—such as sweet potatoes, spinach, and carrots—and small amounts from multiple sources can add up to dangerous levels. That’s why it’s important to limit exposure when you can.

So, limit exposure to sweet potatoes, spinach, and carrots. Got it.
posted by wondermouse


Dammit, they are three of my most eaten foods. :(
posted by Pouteria at 5:19 PM on January 5


Great sources of vitamin A, anyway.
posted by aniola at 5:49 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


I eat dark chocolate, but it has to be more than half hazelnuts. It sounds like the lead is getting on the beans, after harvest, and they need washing. It may be the dehydration reduces the overall volume, and the lead levels concentrate. But hey, I am here and the beans are there,.except for some in my cupboard I bought whole. I will wash and dry them. I have consumed spring water all my adult life, at least 50 years, I still wonder about how much lead I am carrying around. Maybe I will have it checked. My apathy is at an all time high.
posted by Oyéah at 6:50 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


I eat dark chocolate, but it has to be more than half hazelnuts.
posted by Oyéah at 7:02 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]




My parents called me yesterday to tell me this. Metafilter, you've fallen behind mom and dad. Get on the ball.

Funny enough this (lead content in chocolate due to leaded gasoline usage in countries where cacao is grown) was the secret killer of some poker pro in an ancient episode of CSI (the original).
posted by some loser at 5:45 AM on January 6


I eat dark chocolate, but it has to be more than half hazelnuts.

My local Target stopped carrying the dark chocolate hazelnut Ritter Sports, and, though it's not the best chocolate, I miss them dearly.
posted by box at 6:56 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


This is definitely a bummer. I recently started eating raw cacao nibs and now I'm thinking that has to be even worse than dark chocolate in terms of exposure. I wish they'd also looked at those!
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:37 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


There are a lot of other sources of cadmium and lead in foods and your environment - limiting additional sources might be a good thing: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4780235/

"Certain foods such as shellfish, kidney, liver, mushrooms and root crops contain especially high levels of cadmium"

https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/14/21/3432

"Cadmium and lead were found to be generated from industries. According to the findings of [21], industrial production is the most significant source of anthropogenic cadmium emissions"

These environmental contaminations last decades. In Atlanta, for example, one of the gentrifying neighborhoods next to the railroad tracks here turned out to have extremely high levels of heavy metal contamination in the soil. This wasn't found out until recently (ie 2018) which has since led to the entire area being declared a superfund site. This exposure on top of intake from multiple dietary sources should be taken in consideration - only looking at a single source alone obfuscates actual exposure levels especially over a lifetime.

The levels for lead exposure have also been adjusted down over time - it turns out that even with 'safe levels of exposure', your organs, like any machine, wear down over time when exposed to even low levels of toxicity: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/2829

"For Pb, the previously established PTWI of 25 μg per kg body weight per week was withdrawn because it did not afford health protection[41]. A new tolerable Pb intake level could not be established as dose–response analyses indicated that no threshold levels exist for neurotoxicity of Pb. Thus, no amount of Pb intake is safe, and no tolerable Pb intake level has been officially identified. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed a dietary Pb intake level of 12.5 μg/day as an interim safe intake level for the general population of adults[42][43]."

And to be clear, the levels of 'safe' exposure set by regulators is balanced on the one end by public health concerns and the other by industry pressure and economic concerns. When someone says 'California is conservative with their limits' what they're actually saying is 'California is less bought out by industry lobbyists and/or less concerned about how much of their GDP is tied to certain kinds of production.'

That's less conservatism than it is simply being more on the side of public health - it's only bad if you're viewing it from the business (ie capitalist) angle and are valuing profitability and overhead over human lives.
posted by paimapi at 9:03 AM on January 6 [6 favorites]


I saw this a few weeks ago and one thing that jumped out at me was that the premium and boutique brands dominated the high lead category. I surmise this is because they contract with the smaller producers who are more likely to have casual drying processes like “spread out by the road to dry.” In my travels I’ve seen peanuts drying on the road itself.
posted by sjswitzer at 10:31 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


And speaking of premium brands, I saw a documentary about the founder of Dagoba chocolate in which he was inspired to get neck-deep in a vat of fermenting cocoa beans as if it were a hot tub. I did not eat that brand afterwards.
posted by sjswitzer at 10:40 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


On a side note, that chocolate you like also has child slave labor in its supply chain, something companies like Hershey's has fought up the Supreme Court in order to have them rule in their favor with the argument being 'well it's not in the US so it's not our problem.'

I wonder if chocolate were written about in a YA novel as some culturally detached object like 'bitter fruit candy produced by the hands of child slaves, contaminated with heavy metals, all spurned forth by an industry dedicating massive resources to mitigate the attention and regulation related to both, enjoyed by people who mostly don't care about all that anyway', you might say that that's a totally unrealistic dystopian conceit - that you could have such a blissfully cruel population supporting such a monstrous project - and isn't it nice that we don't actually live in such a fictitious world.

But since it's just mere reality and it's something that you personally like, well, this makes all the difference - the world revolves around you after all.
posted by paimapi at 11:25 AM on January 6 [3 favorites]


Maybe all the microplastics in our blood will offset the lead?
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:10 PM on January 6 [3 favorites]


Bless your cheat-lating heart, TCC. We probably could mitigate this problem to some degree by doing steps in the processing with vessels which included chelating resins.
posted by jamjam at 2:03 PM on January 6


Well at least the bar I bought today was in the safer category. I already can't eat or enjoy most foods thanks to my body, but my if you take dark chocolate from me then I guess I should just give up on joy and crawl into my grave now.
posted by wellifyouinsist at 2:25 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


I give up.
posted by AJScease at 6:21 PM on January 8


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