17 Chocolate Brands Whose Products Contain Heavy Metals Lead and Cadmium

An update from August 2017: There were new guidelines released from the European Union, in order to protect the consumers from the exposure to cadmium, these guidelines will take place in January 2019:

  • The chocolate that has more than 50% totally dry cocoa solids, is not going to be able to contain more than 0.80 mg/kg cadmium wet weight.
  • Also chocolate with more than 50% milk chocolate and totally dry cocoa solids, that has more than 30% dry cocoa solids, will not be able to contain cadmium wet weight more than 0.30 mg/kg.
  • The milk chocolate will not be able to contain more than 0.10 mg/kg cadmium wet weight if it has less than 30% totally dry cocoa solids.
  • The cocoa powder which is about to be sold to the last customer (consumer) as the sweet cocoa powder, will not be able to have more than 0.60 mg/kg cadmium wet weight.

According to a publicity of Confectionery News, there is no limit for cadmium in the U.S for chocolate, but California requires to put a warning label on all of the products that contain more than 4.1 mg of cadmium on a product. Also the FDA is about to set a limit on candies that are consumed by little children, of 0.1 ppm.

March 23, 2016 -- Oakland, CA -- “As you Sow” tested 50 chocolate products, including chocolate eggs and bunnies, from which 35 have shown that they contain higher levels of cadmium than they’re supposed to, and with that the consumers are exposed to cadmium more than they should be.

According to the testings by As You Sow, and many other laboratories, are indicating that chocolate products are containing a lot of cadmium and they continuously fail to put the warning label on the products, which is legal.

Legal notices were filed against many chocolate manufacturers by As You Sow, including Lindt, Whole Foods, Green and Black’s, Hershey’s, Trader Joe’s, Godiva, Kroger, Mars, See’s Candies, Earth Circle Organics, Ghirardelli, Equal Exchange, Theo Chocolate and many others, only for the failure to warn the customers for the cadmium that is contained in their chocolate products.

“The lead exposure is connected with the neurological impairment, including decreased IQ and learning diabetes, at low levels too. But it turns out that there are no safe levels of lead for young children” -- said Eleanne van Vilet, As You Sow, MPH.

Our environment has been contaminated with lead by ourselves, and we must do everything that is on our power, in order to protect ourselves, and the most vulnerable part of us, our children from the exposure to any toxic chemicals. , this was reported from Sean Palfrey who is a pedestrian and a professor  of Public Health and Pediatrics at the University of Boston. From the exposure to lead, mostly the children and pregnant women should be protected.

Children and pregnant women should avoid the exposure to cadmium and lead, because it is accumulated in our bodies. All of this was explained by the president of As You Sow, Danielle Fugere. He also mentioned that, their goal is to try and work out these things with the chocolate manufacturers, and try to remove the harmful metals from the products.

According to the researches, cadmium exposure can cause a lot of damage to our bones, liver and kidneys. To the children even the smallest dose can be very dangerous. From the animal researches, it has been concluded that the exposure to cadmium results in male reproductive harm, neurobehavioral problems and decreased birth weight.

Meanwhile in Michigan was raised awareness that the exposure to lead is directly connected to neurological problems in younger children.

Ever since 1992 the company As You Sow, has been trying to solve the problem with the exposure to lead and remove it from the children’s jewelry and to remove formaldehyde from the portable classrooms.

The brands that are involved

Ghiradelli chocolate company:

  • Cadmium and Lead in the 17 Chocolate Brands Whose Products Contain Heavy Metals Lead and Cadmium.
  • Cadmium in the Ghiradelli Intense Dark 72% Cacao Twilight Delight Chocolate Bar.

Earth Circle Foods dba River Canyon Retreat Inc:

  • Cadmium inside the Earth Circle Organics Organic Balinese Cacao Nibs Cold Pressed.


  • Containing Lead in the Bissinger’s All Natural 60% Dark Chocolate Whole Almonds.

The Hershey Company:

  • Cadmium in the product Scharffen Berger Semisweet Fine Artisan Dark Chocolate, which is 62% cacao.
  • Also cadmium in another product of theirs, Scharffen Berger Extra Dark Fine Artisan Dark Chocolate, which is 82% cacao.


  • Containing Cadmium and Lead in the Godiva Chocolatier 85% Cacao Extra Dark Chocolate.
  • A lot of Lead in the Godiva Chocolatier 50% Cacao Dark Chocolate Sea Salt and the Godiva Chocolatier 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate.

Lindt & Sprüngli (USA) Inc:

  • Lead and Cadmium -- Lindt Excellence 85% Cocoa Excellence Extra Dark.


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

Mars, Incorporated:

  • Cadmium -- Dove Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate Bar.

Lake Champlain Chocolates:

  • Cadmium and lead  in the Lake Champlain Chocolates Dark Chocolate (57% cocoa).

See’s Candies, Inc:

  • Cadmium -- See’s Candies Premium Extra Dark Chocolate.

Theo Chocolate Theo:

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

The Kroger Co:

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

Trader Joe’s Company:

  • Lead in many of their products -- Trader Joe’s Swiss 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate, Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar – Toffee With Walnuts and Pecans 70% cacao, Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Dark Chocolate, Trader Joe’s Pound Plus, 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate .
  • Lead and cadmium in the Trader Joe’s The Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar (85% cacao) and the Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate 73% Cacao Super Dark.

Moonstruck Chocolate Co:

  • Lead -- Moonstruck Dark Chocolate Chile Variado, 68% of cacao.

Mondelez International, Inc:

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

Whole Foods Market, Inc:

  • Lead and Cadmium in the 365 Everyday Value Organic Dark Chocolate, that has 56% cacao.

Vosges, Ltd. Wild:

  • Lead -- Ophelia All Natural New Orleans Chili – Dark Chocolate Bar, this one has 70% cacao.

Source: asyousow.org


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