You likely have a lot of chocolate at home thanks to some successful trick-or-treating or maybe you bought too much candy to hand out. Regardless, the key we’re learning is chocolate needs to be eaten in moderation after another round of testing from Consumer Reports found some products tested higher than others for heavy metals.
You may remember last year when Consumer Reports’ scientific food testing made headlines when most of the samples of 28 dark chocolate bars it tested contained concerning levels of cadmium or lead — both toxic heavy metals.
Consumer Reports warns that “consistent, long-term exposure to even small amounts of heavy metals can lead to a variety of health problems. The danger is greatest for pregnant people and young children because the metals can cause developmental problems, affect brain development, and lead to lower IQ.”
New round of testing: Now Consumer Reports has expanded its tests to 48 additional products in seven categories: dark chocolate bars, milk chocolate bars, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, hot chocolate mixes, and brownie and cake mixes.
“As expected, dark chocolates tended to have higher levels of heavy metals than milk chocolate. But every product we tested had detectable amounts of lead and cadmium,” said James Rogers, Consumer Reports Food Safety Scientist.
There are no federal limits for the amount of lead and cadmium most foods can contain, but one state does set its own limits on certain foods.
“Our scientists used California’s standard levels when measuring heavy metal content in chocolate to make our own assessments for consumers,” Rogers explained.
SEE ALL THE RESULTS: Consumer Reports’ scientific testing of chocolate products
Dark chocolate: Of the seven dark chocolate bars tested, five were above Consumer Reports’ levels for lead, cadmium, or both. Evolved Signature Dark 72% Cacao Chocolate Bar was high in both heavy metals.
Evolved Chocolate told Consumer Reports that it regularly tests raw materials and finished goods to ensure compliance and, ultimately, consumer safety.
Milk chocolate: None of the milk chocolate bars tested were over Consumer Reports’ limit for either heavy metal. Two chocolate chips, two cocoa powders, one brownie mix, and two cake mixes came back with lead levels over Consumer Reports’ limit.
Hot chocolate mix: As for hot chocolate mixes, four of the six products tested exceeded Consumer Reports’ lead limit.
“Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to quit chocolate cold turkey. But as with anything in life, moderation is key,” said Rogers. “Consume chocolate as an occasional treat.”
Consumer Reports asked the Food and Drug Administration whether it has plans to set limits for lead and cadmium in chocolate. The agency did not respond.
National Confectioners Association: In a statement to News4JAX in response to Consumer Reports testing, Christopher Gindlesperger, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications at NCA said the following:
“Chocolate and cocoa are safe to eat and can be enjoyed as treats as they have been for centuries. Food safety and product quality remain our highest priorities and we remain dedicated to being transparent and socially responsible.”
NCA also provided its answers to chocolate questions regarding lead and cadmium. You will find that document below.