Every single bar of dark chocolate tested containing the toxic metal, including some popular brands
Lead is harmful to humans and can cause memory loss, stomach pain and poor mood after prolonged exposure.
In high amounts, heavy metals can damage children’s brains and central nervous systems, resulting in cognitive and behavioral deficits.
However, cadmium exposure, even at low levels, has been linked to various types of cancer, including kidney and bone.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not established national limits for lead and cadmium in chocolate bars.
Watchdog group Consumer Reports put one-ounce bars of 28 different dark chocolate varieties through a battery of tests.
The non-profit organization tests products against standards set by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to see if they contain dangerous amounts.
The standard for general exposure, not food safety, states that daily exposure to lead and cadmium should not exceed 0.5 micrograms (mcg) and 4.1 mcg, respectively.
However, up to two and a half times the amount of lead and up to three times this amount of cadmium were found in 23 bars tested (82%).
According to the report, five bars contain lead and cadmium above the recommended limits: Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Lover’s 85% cacao, Green & Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate 70% cacao, Lily’s Extremely Dark Chocolate 85% cacao, and Theo’s Created by Twice.
Ten additional bars had more lead than recommended, and eight bars had more cadmium than California’s levels allow.
Only five bars – Ghirardelli, Valrhona, Fresh Chocolate and Mast – contained amounts below the safe limit.
Cadmium occurs naturally in soil. It can be absorbed by the cacao plant as it is developing.
Lead can enter cocoa during the production process.
Cocoa bean stocks can become contaminated with industrial dust during the drying process, often caused by vehicle emissions and power plants.
Lead can enter dark chocolate bars during the manufacturing process.
According to the experts at Consumer Reports, an ounce of any chocolate, even one with high lead and cadmium content, is not likely to hurt you right away.
This would result in excessive consumption or daily consumption of chocolate bars to cause significant long-term harm.
But he warned that people could get sick if repeatedly exposed to these toxic metals.
Market research company Mintel says that about 15 percent of Americans eat chocolate daily.
According to Consumer Reports, chocolate manufacturers can cut lead and cadmium levels in their wares.
Tunde Akinley, food safety researcher at Consumer Reports, said that many bars had levels of these heavy metals below the limits set by California.
“This shows that it is possible for companies to make products with lower amounts of heavy metals – and for consumers to find safe products that they enjoy,” he said .
It is possible that other chocolate products, such as hot cocoa, brownies and cake mixes, may contain higher levels of lead and cadmium.
On behalf of chocolate makers, the National Confectioners Association said, “dark chocolates can be enjoyed as they have been for centuries.”
The items included in this research are “in compliance with strict quality and safety requirements.”
The agency added: “The OEHHA standards cited in the Consumer Reports study are not food safety standards.
“The products cited in this study are in compliance with strict quality and safety requirements, and the levels provided to us by Consumer Reports testing are within limits established by our disposal.”
The FDA monitors and regulates the amount of environmental pollutants, including lead and cadmium, in foods.
“If the agency finds that a level of a contaminant makes the food unsafe,” an FDA spokeswoman said, “we take action, including working with the manufacturer to resolve the problem and taking steps to stop the product.” Lifting may be involved. to enter or remain in the US market.
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