Most of us love our chocolate. But did you know there are significant differences between the supermarket varieties, and certified organic product. Commercial interests try to dupe us into believing their product is the real thing, when it left that blissful state long ago on the way to the Supermarket.Checkout organic semi sweet chocolate chips for more info.
When it comes to chocolate, most of us are aware that when Europeans first took this fruit to Africa, there was child slave labor involved in Cocoa production. These days many farmers use their children to help them take care of their farms, but unfortunately unscrupulous chocolate companies such as Nestle and Hersheys, are more interested in short term profits, than the welfare of African children! Recently Cadbury announced that they are switching over to Fair Trade Chocolate after intense lobbying from consumer and green groups. Most organic chocolate, on the other hand, is certified free trade. Those wanting a clear conscience when eating chocolate will wish to make sure their favourite brand is fair trade certified!
Pesticides and Toxins
Chocolate in its raw form has been shown to have relatively low levels of toxins such as lead. Unfortunately, this is not the case after processing. Here is the result of one study. “What’s interesting is that cocoa beans tested had an average lead concentration of < 0.5 ng/g, “one of the lowest reported values for a natural food,” the study points out. But, by contrast, “lead concentrations of manufactured cocoa and chocolate products were as high as 230 and 70 ng/g.”
“In fact, a team of American and Nigerian researchers found that lead levels in raw cocoa beans were 60 times lower than lead levels observed in processed chocolate products, the Chicago Tribune reports”. Chocolate absorbs everything from its environment. That means that toxic substance used in manufacture are going to get into the chocolate! Certified Organic Chocolate comes from areas where pesticides are not used. It may still have residues, but they are generally much lower. Organic chocolate is generally not processed using chemicals, often a larger source of contamination than those in the growing environment.
When selecting an organic chocolate, make sure they are not using refined sugar in the production. Commercial chocolates have quite a few additives. Here is the list from Cadbury dark Chocolate. Sugar, Cocoa Mass, Cocoa Butter, Milk Solids, Emulsifiers (Soya lecithin, 476), Flavour. May contain traces of Nuts. Dark Chocolate contains Cocoa solids 45%. Unfortunately, with no certified foods, including chocolate, there is no requirement to list pesticides, herbicides, lead or other heavy metals in the product. Even the ingredients listed can come from many sources, and may be very detrimental to human health. Omission is a common practice amongst food giants to avoid scrutiny!
When all is said and done, Organic Chocolate is a better alternate to Commercial varieties. It does cost more and Dagoba sell a 56.7 gram square for $6.95 a piece. Organic chocolate has many advantages, particularly if it is cold pressed and may retain much of the antioxidant and other nutrient value of the raw cocoa bean.