17 Chocolate Brands Whose Products Contain Heavy Metals Lead and Cadmium

The European Union has made new guidelines for cadmium exposure limits in order to protect the consumers, and this will begin in January 2019:

  • Milk chocolate with over 30% total dry cocoa solids and chocolate with over 50% total dry cocoa solids must not have over 0.30mg/kg wet weight of cadmium.
  • Cocoa powder that is sold to the final consumer or as a fixing in a sweetened cocoa powder sold to the final consumer – drinking chocolate, must not have over 0.60mg/kg wet weight of cadmium.
  • Milk chocolate that has 30% total dry cocoa solids or less must not have over 0.10mg/kg wet weight of cadmium.
  • Chocolate with over 50% total dry cocoa solids must not have over 0.80mg/kg wet weight of cadmium.

An industry publication, Confectionery News, there are no strict limit restrictions about cadmium in chocolate in the United States. But, on the other hand, California demands a warning label to be written in the things that contain over 4.1mg of cadmium on a daily portion of one product. The FDA also states that there is a guidance limit of 0.1ppm for lead contained in candy that little children consume.

There have been some results published on the consumer health watchdog As You Sow, and they proved that out of 50 tested chocolate products – such as chocolate bunnies and eggs too, 35 of them have a significant exposure on consumers to lead and cadmium in the levels that are given by California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act.

As You Sow commissioned a testing that was made at independent labs showed that there is lead and cadmium contained in chocolate products and they do not have the warning that is legally required to the consumers.

There have been filed some legal notices by As You Sow to the chocolate producers such as Earth Circle Organics, Equal Exchange, Mars, Godiva, Whole Foods, Green and Black’s, Trader Joe’s, Ghirardelli, Theo Chocolate, See’s Candies, Kroger, Lindt, Hershey’s, and many other, for the lack of warning to the consumers that the chocolate products have cadmium and/or lead.

Being exposed to lead at even small level is linked to neurological impairment, like decreased IQ, and learning disabilities. Actually we can say that no level is safe for kids, stated the As You Sow’s Environmental Health Consultant -- Eleanne van Vliet, MPH.

People have polluted the environment with lead, as underscored by the Flint disaster, and it is our turn to do some action in order to protect the kids and ourselves, the kids being the most vulnerable of all, from every single exposure – stated a pediatrician and Professor of Pediatrics and Public Health at Boston University School of Medicine -- Sean Palfrey, MD. This type of lead exposure must be avoided by pregnant women and kids.

Cadmium and lead actually buildup in the body, so it is of great significance to try and avoid this, with children in particular – clarified the As You Sow President -- Danielle Fugere. The main objective is to make the chocolate producers to search for a way to exclude these things from chocolate.

Experts have relates chronic exposure to cadmium to bone, kidney, and liver damage in humans. Children are even more vulnerable and also at very low levels. Various animal analysis have related cadmium exposure to neurobehavioral problems, male reproductive harm and decreased birth weight.

New discoveries of lead contaminations in water in Flint, Michigan have increased the alert for lead as being the main culprit of neurological impacts in kids.

As You Sow has performed enforcement actions since 1992, and they have resulted in taking out the formaldehyde from portable classrooms and lead from the jewelry for kids.

Here are the brads:

Earth Circle Foods dba River Canyon Retreat Inc.

  • Earth Circle Organics Organic Balinese Cacao Nibs Cold Pressed -- Cadmium


  • Godiva Chocolatier 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate -- Lead & Cadmium
  • Godiva Chocolatier 85% Cacao Extra Dark Chocolate -- Lead & Cadmium
  • Godiva Chocolatier 50% Cacao Dark Chocolate Sea Salt -- Lead


  • Organic New Moon Rich Dark Chocolate (74% cacao) -- Lead & Cadmium

Lindt & Sprüngli (USA) Inc.

  • Lindt Excellence 85% Cocoa Excellence Extra Dark -- Lead & Cadmium

Mondelez International, Inc.

  • Green & Black’s Organic 85% Cacao Bar -- Lead & Cadmium

See’s Candies, Inc.

  • See’s Candies Premium Extra Dark Chocolate (62% cacao) -- Cadmium

Theo Chocolate Theo

  • Organic Fair Trade Pure 85% Dark Chocolate -- Cadmium

Vosges, Ltd. Wild

  • Ophelia All Natural New Orleans Chili – Dark Chocolate Bar (70% cacao) – Lead


  • Bissinger’s All Natural 60% Dark Chocolate Whole Almonds -- Lead

Ghirardelli Chocolate Company

  • Ghiradelli Chocolate Premium Baking Bar 100% Cacao Unsweetened Chocolate -- Lead & Cadmium
  • Ghiradelli Intense Dark 72% Cacao Twilight Delight Chocolate Bar -- Cadmium

The Hershey Company

  • Scharffen Berger Extra Dark Fine Artisan Dark Chocolate (82% cacao) -- Cadmium
  • Scharffen Berger Semisweet Fine Artisan Dark Chocolate (62% cacao) -- Cadmium

Lake Champlain Chocolates

  • Lake Champlain Chocolates Dark Chocolate (57% cocoa) -- Lead & Cadmium

Mars, Incorporated

  • Dove Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate Bar -- Cadmium

Moonstruck Chocolate Co.

  • Moonstruck Dark Chocolate Chile Variado (68% cacao) -- Lead

The Kroger Co.

  • Private Selection 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate Swiss Bar -- Lead & Cadmium

Trader Joe’s Company

  • Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar – Toffee With Walnuts and Pecans 70% cacao -- Lead
  • Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate 73% Cacao Super Dark -- Lead & Cadmium
  • Trader Joe’s The Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar (85% cacao) -- Lead & Cadmium
  • Trader Joe’s Swiss 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate -- Lead
  • Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Dark Chocolate -- Lead
  • Trader Joe’s Pound Plus, 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate -- Lead

Whole Foods Market, Inc.

365 Everyday Value Organic Dark Chocolate (56% Cacao) -- Lead & Cadmium

Source:  www.asyousow.org