Lead and Cadmium in CHOCOLATE!


Responding to published research showing high levels of heavy metals in commonly eaten food items, As You Sow began extensive independent laboratory testing of 42 chocolate products for lead and cadmium. We found that 26 of the chocolate products (~62%) contain lead and/or cadmium at levels in which one serving exceeds the California safe harbor level for reproductive harm. We filed notices with 16 manufacturers, including See’s, Mars, Hershey, Lindt, Godiva, Whole Foods, and others, for failing to provide required warnings to consumers that their chocolate products contain lead, cadmium, or both.

Lead and cadmium were found in popular chocolate products.

See the products we tested in the tables below.

No level of lead is safe for children. Lead exposure has been a significant public health issue for decades and is associated with neurological impairment, such as learning disabilities and lower IQ, even at low levels. “No amount of lead ingestion is ‘safe’ for children,” states Sean Palfrey, MD, a pediatrician and professor of Pediatrics and Public Health at Boston University School of Medicine. “Pregnant women and young children with developing brains in particular should avoid any ingestion of lead.”

Cadmium is also known to cause reproductive harm. Chronic exposure to cadmium has been to kidney, liver, and bone damage in humans. Children are more susceptible to exposure effects from low doses of cadmium over time. Companies are not doing enough to keep their products safe and below California’s safe harbor level for reproductive harm for these toxic heavy metals.

As You Sow, a consumer health protection organization, commissioned an independent state-certified laboratory to measure levels of lead and cadmium in 42 chocolate products available at retailers across California. The charts indicate whether, pursuant to test results, the product requires a warning under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act.


Bissinger’s All Natural 60% Dark Chocolate Whole Almonds

Earth Circle Organics Organic Balinese Cacao Nibs Cold Pressed

Ghiradelli Intense Dark 72% Cacao Twilight Delight Chocolate Bar

Ghiradelli Chocolate Premium Baking Bar 100% Cacao Unsweetened Chocolate

Godiva Chocolatier 50% Cacao Dark Chocolate Sea Salt

Godiva Chocolatier 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate

Scharffen Berger Semisweet Fine Artisan Dark Chocolate (62% cacao)

Scharffen Berger Extra Dark Fine Artisan Dark Chocolate (82% cacao)

Dagoba Organic New Moon Rich Dark Chocolate (74% cacao)

Lake Champlain Chocolates Dark Chocolate (57% cocoa)

Lindt Excellence 85% Cocoa Excellence Extra Dark

Dove Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate Bar

Green & Black’s Organic 85% Cacao Bar

Moonstruck Dark Chocolate Chile Variado (68% cacao)

See’s Candies Premium Extra Dark Chocolate (62% cacao)

Private Selection 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate Swiss Bar

Theo Organic Fair Trade Pure 85% Dark Chocolate

Trader Joe’s Swiss 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar – Toffee With Walnuts and Pecans 70% cacao

Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Dark Chocolate

Trader Joe’s Pound Plus, 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate 73% Cacao Super Dark

Trader Joe’s The Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar (85% cacao)

Wild Ophelia All Natural New Orleans Chili – Dark Chocolate Bar (70% cacao)



Wild Harvest Organic Rich Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix

Flipz 50% cacao Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Endangered Species Natural Dark Chocolate (72% cocoa)

Ferrero Collection Fine assorted Confections

Ghiradelli Intense Dark Midnight Reverie (86% Cacao)

Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolate

Reese’s Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Jo’s Candies Dark Chocolate Covered Graham Crackers “All Natural”

Toblerone Swiss Milk Chocolate Bar with Honey and Almond Nougat

Lindt Excellence A Touch of Sea Salt Dark (with Fleur de Sel sea salt crystals)


CocoaVia Daily Cocoa Extract Supplement

Green & Black’s Organic Milk Chocolate (34% Cacao)

Nestle Crunch

Ovaltine Classic Malt Mix

Starbucks Dark Chocolate Covered Grahams

Source: As You Sow

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