Lead, cadmium found in chocolate

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Some bad news for chocolate lovers. A consumer health watchdog group found higher than normal levels of lead and cadmium in some of the chocolates we eat. The Oakland based group, As You Sow wants these companies to put warning labels on their wrappers.

First we're told chocolate is good for you, especially dark chocolate and now tests done on hundreds of chocolate bars found some had higher than normal levels of two heavy metals, lead and cadmium.

"We sent them to an independent lab and we had them test it for lead and for cadmium and we compared these levels to the legal limits," said Andrew Behar with As You Sow.

Ghirardelli had two with higher levels and two that didn't.

Six chocolate bars sold at Trader Joe's also had a higher concentration of these heavy metals.

How they got into these bars is unknown, yet there are some ideas.

See the list of 42 chocolates tested here

"One possible theory is that lead and cadmium from coal fire power plants, from leaded gasoline, from pesticides get into the soil then get into the bean," said Behar.

Another possibility is that somehow the lead is introduced in the manufacturing plant.

As You Sow has taken these companies to court, demanding that they put warning labels on the wrappers.

See's had only one that didn't past the test. It was their premium extra dark chocolate. See's emailed us back to say they had no comment, but the National Confectioners Associations issued this statement:

"The FDA and other health authorities have determined that tiny traces of naturally occurring heavy metals in food are unavoidable and present no public health risk."

But these levels are not acceptable according to the California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.

No level of lead is safe for children and cadmium is known to cause reproductive harm.
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