Heavy metals found in dark chocolate
According to research by the American consumer magazine Consumer Reports, dark chocolates may contain dangerous amounts of heavy metals.

28 chocolates were tested, in all of which lead or cadmium was detected and in 23 their amounts exceeded the limit value. Since there is no limit value for the content of cadmium and lead in most foods in the USA, CR compared the unit consumption of the products with the maximum allowable dose levels (MADL) established in California (lead 0.5 µg, cadmium 4.1 µg), and drew their conclusions from that. The intake of lead and cadmium is not favorable in any quantity.

Another news is, that CR has asked four companies to reduce lead and cadmium levels in their dark chocolate products by Valentine's Day. As a result of the research, the Trader Joe's chocolate manufacturer was sued at least nine times, while other companies, e.g. Hershey's, Mondelez, Godiva or Lindt companies were also sued over the magazine’s findings.

According to the National Confectioners Association, the cited standards were not food safety standards and the products tested meet strict quality and safety requirements.

Another article reveals that according to European safety standards, a person weighing 130 pounds (~59 kg) should not consume more than 21 µg of cadmium per day to avoid health risks. An ounce of dark chocolate containing 7-8 µg is therefore unlikely to be harmful. At the same time, the minimal risk level established by the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry for a person of similar weight is 6 µg. Considering this value, a single one-ounce chocolate consumption can already be risky, according to a 2019 study.

Another FDA study of more than 300 food products found that dark chocolate had the third highest concentration of cadmium and lead. In case of lead, baking powder and cocoa powder, while in the case of cadmium, cocoa powder and sunflower seeds took the first two places. FDA has set a lead limit for candy, which is not reached by the levels usually found in dark chocolate. According to the FDA, the presence of lead and cadmium in chocolate is known and is not dangerous for most people if consumed occasionally.

Cadmium mostly enters the plant through the soil, while lead can contaminate during processing.

There are limit values in the EU for the cadmium content of chocolate and cocoa powder.

The heavy metal content of cocoa and chocolate is therefore an existing problem, and their excessive consumption is generally not recommended. Risk management organizations try to ensure the lowest possible intake of contaminants with limit values.


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