The Not-So-Sweet-Truth about Chocolate

People ask why I don’t eat the candy in the office candy dishes and they are often surprised when I tell them it’s NOT because of the sugar. The number one reason I walk past the office candy dish is because I can’t support modern slavery in the cocoa industry. Probably not what you were expecting, right?

To continue to be a buzz kill, coffee, bananas, and chocolate are the biggest source of modern day slavery in the food industry.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s go back to chocolate. I believe I first learned about the modern day slavery involved in cocoa production in 2016 when I went to talk from Diana Rogers at Paleo (F)x . The more I dug into the topic, the more disgusted and angry I felt. While I’m enjoying a cheap treat, thousands of people are enslaved, many of them children. Talk about blood diamonds, well chocolate is no different.

As a result, I stopped eating chocolate that doesn’t have a fair trade label and we opted out of Halloween. I couldn’t in good faith hand out chocolate to children that had been made by enslaved children. My conscious wouldn’t let me. You may be thinking, that’s easy for you, you don’t have kids. And true, it was an easier decision for me. But we can all make better decisions.

Here are my thoughts on other options for still enjoying Halloween:

  • Pass out candy that is fair trade (see the brands pictured below).
  • Have an old fashioned Halloween party, costume contest, candy apples, the whole nine yards.
  • Create a new tradition with your kids: cookie baking, pumpkin decorating, watching Halloween movies, etc.
  • Spread the word. Share this post, talk to your friends about this, the more people that are putting pressure on Nestle, Mars, and Hershey’s the faster we’ll see systemic change.
  • Be the change.

Rainforest Alliance

“The Rainforest Alliance certification seal means that the product (or a specified ingredient) was produced by farmers, foresters, and/or companies working together to create a world where people and nature thrive in harmony.” Rainforest Alliance Website

Fair Trade Certified

“We are building an innovative model of responsible business, conscious consumerism, and shared value to eliminate poverty and enable sustainable development for farmers, workers, their families, and their communities around the world.” Fair Trade Certified Website

Fair for Life

“A world where trade, through ethical, fair and respectful partnerships, is a driving force for positive and sustainable change benefiting people and their environment.
Producers and workers who are at a particular disadvantage – no matter the country where they work – are actors of their own development, together deciding on meaningful projects adapted to their local situation.” Fair for Life website

Direct Trade

“Direct Trade is an ethical, responsible and social connection between farmers and manufacturing companies without any intermediaries, in a way that the created value is shared between both parties equally.  Hence, both parties work in a symbiotic relationship, outputting labor and effort in order to maximize the value of the raw materials and finished goods, and become dependent on each other’s success.” Direct Trade website