NCA responds to report on lead and cadmium levels

The National Confectioners Association (NCA) has released a statement in response to the Consumer Reports’ study which reported having found heavy metals in several chocolate brands.

According to the report put out by Consumer Reports, they tested 28 dark chocolate bars for lead and cadmium – which it says even just eating an ounce of would be harmful to the consumer – and found several brands contained chocolate high in lead, high in cadmium, and high in lead and cadmium. To determine the risk posed by lead and cadmium in the chocolate, the test used California’s maximum allowable dose level (MADL) for lead, which is 0.5 micrograms and cadmium, which is 4.1 micrograms.

The NCA published results earlier this year as the result of a three-year collaborative study with As You Sow, investigating sources of lead and cadmium in cocoa and chocolate and how to reduce the levels. Based on the study, the measures suggested to reduce levels of cadmium ad lead included soil treatment and planting new tree stock.

The study was quoted by Consumer Reports, who added suggestions from their own scientists into reducing levels; including surveying cacao-growing areas to determine cadmium levels and favour beans from places with lower levels.

In spite of this, the NCA has released a statement in response to the report specifying that chocolate and cocoa are still safe to eat and can be enjoyed.

““Chocolate and cocoa are safe to eat and can be enjoyed as treats as they have been for centuries. The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) guidelines cited in the Consumer Reports study are not food safety standards,” the statement said. “An expert investigation conducted through our prior California Proposition 65 settlement concluded that cadmium and lead are present in cocoa and chocolate due to soil and that bean cleaning during processing cocoa beans reduces lead and cadmium in chocolate products.”

Of the chocolate brands cited in the report as containing high lead and/or cadmium levels, the NCA said they were “in compliance with strict quality and safety requirements, and the levels provided to us by Consumer Reports testing are well under the limits established by our settlement”.

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Media contact

Caitlin Gittins
Editor, International Confectionery
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 920

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