|Praises, No Criticisms|
|Lesser Praise, No Criticisms|
|No Praises, No Criticisms|
Note: Ratings are based on company record, including parent companies.
They are not a comment on the product itself.
|Animal Ingredients Alert|
|The Guide > Food & Drink > Confectionery > Chocolate|
Since 2000, the chocolate industry has been under scrutiny for using cocoa beans from West Africa (especially Cote d'Ivoire) where there are estimated to be over 284,000 child labourers working in slave conditions on cocoa farms (Source: International Labor Organisation, part of the UN). These children, mostly under 14, are involved in dangerous work, including spraying pesticides, using machetes and carrying heavy loads. They have no access to education or health care. Physical abuse is also common.
- Look for products with the certified Fairtrade symbol. [Fairly Local]
- See how major chocolate companies compare. [Chocolate Scorecard]
- Be part of the '10 Campaign'. Together we can let governments and the cocoa industry know that we demand child labour in the making of our chocolate to end. Now is the time! [10 Campaign]
- Find Fairtrade, UTZ or Rainforest Alliance certified chocolate. [Good Chocolate Guide]
About 70 percent of the world's cocoa is grown in West Africa. Small family plots are the main producers. A fall in price of raw cocoa, despite a 20% increase in global chocolate sales over the past 5 years, has forced small farmers to cut labour costs. The present price is about $1.40 per kilo of cocoa beans.
Many of the pesticides used in cocoa production have been banned in the US, EU and here in Australia. These include Methyl Bromide, Pyrethrins, Glyphosate and Lindane.
- Choose organic chocolate.
Palm oil is found in one out of every ten supermarket products including shampoos, cooking oil, chocolate, cosmetics, chips, biscuits, margarine and soaps. The UN estimates that palm oil plantations are 'now the primary cause of permanent rainforest loss'. This threatens the survival of the Orang-utans, the Sumatran tiger and the Asian rhinoceros. Additionally, burning after deforestation accounts for significant greenhouse gas emissions -1,400 million tonnes of CO2 every year in Indonesia alone.
- Learn about the issues, find sample letters to write to retailers and the government, and sign the petition for compulsory labelling [Palm Oil Action Group]
- Check the ingredients, if the product contains palm oil, avoid it, send a letter to the manufacturer telling them of your action. (Note: it may be labelled as simply "vegetable oil")
- See the 'Helping you buy responsibly' section for a list of manufacturers who are committed to avoiding the use of palm oil. [Boreno Orangutan Survival]
Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world. It is highly addictive and causes unpleasant withdrawal symptoms (headaches being the most common) if you stop drinking it suddenly. Most people get their caffeine fixes from coffee and tea, but it is also present in cola drinks, energy drinks and chocolate (the darker the chocolate, the more caffeine it contains). Caffeine is a strong diuretic and can cause insomnia, tremors and reduced fertility in men. It's bad news for pregnant women too. [More]
- Typical caffeine quantities: Red Bull (250ml can) - 80mg; Mother (500ml can) - 160mg; Coca-Cola can - 40mg; Coffee - 80-100mg typically; Tea - about half that of coffee (varies greatly); A chocolate bar - up to 10mg
- Find out how much caffeine you consume each day using Choice's Caffeine calculator. [Caffeine calculator]
Saturated fat has been associated with increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and even cancer. In Australia, our current intake of saturated fat is about 12.5 per cent of total energy intake, higher than the recommended maximum level of 10 per cent.
Butterfat/buttermilk (including dark chocolate) milk solids, emulsifiers E471b to E495 Alternatives: Sweet William, Loving Earth (Information compiled by Aduki)