Consumer Reports Exposes Elevated Levels of Heavy Metals in Popular Chocolate Products

by Ella

A recent study conducted by Consumer Reports has raised concerns about the presence of potentially harmful levels of heavy metals in various chocolate products, including dark and milk chocolate cocoa powders, brownie mixes, and chocolate chips. The research, which analyzed 48 products from both major and smaller brands, revealed detectable amounts of lead and cadmium in all tested items.

Major brands involved in the study included Hershey’s, Nestlé, and Ghirardelli, as well as smaller brands like Droste and Navitas. The products were sourced from national retailers, including Costco, Trader Joe’s, Target, Walmart, and Whole Foods.


The findings indicated that, consistent with previous studies, dark chocolate products generally exhibited higher levels of heavy metals compared to their milk chocolate counterparts. While this was anticipated, Consumer Reports emphasized that every product tested, regardless of chocolate type, contained detectable amounts of lead and cadmium.


James Rogers, PhD, Director and Acting Head of Product Safety Testing at Consumer Reports, stated, “Sixteen of the 48 products had amounts above Consumer Reports’ levels of concern for at least one of the heavy metals — in some cases more than twice our limit — but we did find safer options in each category of chocolate products.”


The study assessed lead and cadmium levels, with 16 out of the 48 products exceeding Consumer Reports’ established levels of concern for at least one of the heavy metals. Notably, dark chocolate bars exhibited levels above the maximum daily doses allowed in California, where regulations often surpass federal standards. Five out of seven dark chocolate bars surpassed California’s daily limits for lead, cadmium, or both.


The study highlighted specific products with concerning levels, including the Evolved Signature Dark 72 Percent Cacao Chocolate Bar, which exceeded the limits for both lead and cadmium. In contrast, products like Sam’s Choice Dark Chocolate 85 Percent Cocoa and Divine 70 Percent Deliciously Smooth Dark Chocolate remained within the permissible limits.

Milk chocolate bars, cocoa powders, chocolate chips, hot cocoa mixes, brownie mixes, and cake mixes were also part of the investigation. Notably, lead and cadmium levels were generally lower in milk chocolate bars, and chocolate chips showed no high cadmium levels, with only two products exceeding the lead limit.

The research aimed to provide consumers with an awareness of heavy metal levels in commonly consumed chocolate products, emphasizing the need for vigilance and consideration of alternative, safer options. Consumer Reports urged consumers to be mindful of serving sizes and to explore safer alternatives within each category of chocolate products.

The implications of elevated levels of cadmium and lead in chocolate products raise concerns about potential health risks. Cadmium, found naturally in the earth’s crust and present in various consumer products, can lead to health issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, kidney damage, fragile bones, and certain cancers. Lead, though banned in certain applications, still poses health risks, particularly for young children, leading to developmental and cognitive problems.

As consumers become more conscious of the potential health risks associated with heavy metal exposure through food, the study underscores the importance of manufacturers and regulatory bodies in ensuring the safety of widely consumed products.



Wellfoodrecipes is a professional gourmet portal, the main columns include gourmet recipes, healthy diet, desserts, festival recipes, meat and seafood recipes, etc.

【Contact us: [email protected]

Copyright © 2023