Umm, would you like lead with that truffle?
We didn’t think so. But a new report from consumer watchdog group As You Sow reveals that many popular chocolate products—including a host of high-in-cacao dark chocolates—contain toxic metals like lead and cadmium above levels set by California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act.
It’s not just the cheap checkout aisle or day-after-Easter candy, either. According to the report, plenty of high-quality brands—like Green & Black, Theo Chocolates, Earth Circle Organics, and Whole Foods—are guilty, too. (And, interestingly, most of the Nestlé and Mars products the group tested were found to be safe.)
As You Sow tested 50 chocolate products available in California (Easter-themed chocolate bunnies and eggs included), which has the strictest toxic chemical limits in the nation, and found that 35 of them exposed consumers to too-high levels of lead and cadmium, EcoWatch reports.
“Lead exposure is associated with neurological impairment, such as learning disabilities and decreased IQ, even at very low levels. In fact, there is no safe level of lead for children,” Eleanne van Vliet, As You Sow’s environmental health consultant, tells EcoWatch. (So much for the brain function boost dark chocolate has been found to give you.) And chronic cadmium exposure has been linked to kidney, liver, and bone damage in humans.
CNN reached out to the chocolate manufacturers for comment, and those that replied deemed their products safe, saying that the metals are from naturally occurring sources that are absorbed into the cocoa plants.
Whoa. If that’s true, and the cocoa plants themselves are the source of lead and cadmium, then even if you make your own dark chocolate nibbles, you may not avoid the problem. Could it be time to adjust your sweet tooth to a new go-to, at least until this is all sorted?