Chocolate Production, the Facts About Organic Chocolate, Fair Trade Chocolate and More

Buying chocolate should be an informed decision. There are many factors to consider about chocolate production and where your chocolate comes from.
Kate Steffens
March 20, 2013
Add to My MSN

 Organic chocolate means the chocolate is free of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and GMOs.
Photo By Fotolia/Philetdom


Content Tools

Related Content

Chocolates of Choice: Organic, Fair Trade, and Delicious!

Know a chocolate-lover? Here's info on a few of the most delicious chocolate bars, from companies t...

Fairness as a Way of Life

I realize that if I provide an example for the pursuit of fairness in the world I will be inviting d...

A Raw Deal

Almond and wholesale nut farmers in California filed a lawsuit this month against the U.S. Departmen...

RawCreations: More Carrot than Cheesecake

Our thoughts on the gluten free, dairy free, soy free desserts from RawCreations.

This article was reposted with permission from Menuism.

Many chocolate lovers consume and enjoy chocolate without ever thinking about where it comes from or how it was produced. However, there are many issues surrounding the production of chocolate that are important for consumers to be aware of, from the labor used to harvest the cacao to the pesticides used on the trees. Here’s a look at some of the issues surrounding chocolate production and what you can do to ensure you’re buying chocolate with a trouble-free history.

Chocolate Labor Practices & Politics 

Cocoa beans are harvested mainly in developing countries where the political situation can be shaky, to say the least. The Ivory Coast produces 30 to 40 percent of the world’s cacao, and is still one of the worst offenders when it comes to labor practices. Despite the Cocoa Protocol, established in 2001 as an audit system for African governments to help monitor child labor, the country’s civil wars and disputed elections have made it difficult to track the worst offenders. Large chocolate manufacturers such as Hershey’s and Nestle came under fire earlier this year for using cacao from Ivory Coast farms that may employ child labor.

Organic & Raw Chocolate

Cocoa trees are highly susceptible to disease and pests, so the use of pesticides is widespread. Organic chocolate means the chocolate is free of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and GMOs. Luckily, organic chocolate is becoming easier to find locally, with Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s both carrying USDA-certified organic chocolate. Raw organic chocolate, while much less sweet than the non-raw kind, is gaining in popularity among the vegan and raw food set. One of the benefits of buying raw is that the cacao is heated at very low temperatures, using only a very small amount of energy compared to non-raw chocolate production.

Fair Trade Chocolate

The number one way you can be sure your chocolate has been harvested sustainably and without the use of slave or child labor, is to look for Fair Trade certification on the packaging. The concept of Fair Trade began in the 1940s as a way to help poor communities sell their products to more well-off ones. It has since evolved into an organization that partners with companies that provide workers in developing countries a living wage, are anti-slave and anti-child labor, and that use sustainable environmental practices. Fair Trade USA provides a list of certified chocolate companies to help you make informed buying decisions.

Single-Origin Chocolate

Where your chocolate comes from is important, especially if you’d like to avoid questionable labor practices. How can you tell where it comes from? Besides looking for a Fair Trade label, seek out single-origin chocolate. Single-origin chocolate comes from a single region or farm and is labeled as such. By purchasing this type of chocolate, you can ensure that you’re buying chocolate from a country with strict environmental regulations and laws against child and slave labor.








Post a comment below.

 

CHRISTINEP
11/11/2013 2:55:05 PM
I've checked the ingredients on "organic chocolates" at Trader Joe's. Most are made with soy lecithin, listed on the package. Most soy is GMO. I only found one chocolate bar that stated "organically sourced soy lecithin". While the chocolate itself may be organic, beware of the other ingredients.

CHRISTINEP
11/11/2013 2:46:17 PM
I've checked the ingredients on "organic chocolates" at Trader Joe's. Most are made with soy lecithin, listed on the package. Most soy is GMO. I only found one chocolate bar that stated "organically sourced soy lecithin". While the chocolate itself may be organic, beware of the other ingredients.








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.