Recent reports about cadmium and lead in chocolate have prompted questions about how much of each is in our chocolate.
Anything grown in the soil contains cadmium because cadmium is naturally present in the soil and is taken up by plants. Root vegetables and green leafy vegetables are known to accumulate cadmium from the soil. No limits have been established for these foods probably because it would be difficult to get a sample representative of each farm and too expensive to have this testing done routinely. Chocolate is processed in large lots and so a single sample can be representative of a large quantity of chocolate. The European Union has established limits on cadmium in chocolate that went into effect in 2019. The limit for dark chocolate is 0.8 mg/kg (also known as parts per million, see EU Cadmium Limits ). There only guidance from the US FDA is that food should not contain more than 10 ppm of heavy metals which includes both cadmium and lead and is much higher than the EU limit. All of our products fall below the EU limit based on recent testing of cacao we use to make chocolate. Our Maui Grown cacao is low in cadmium and when formulated into 70% dark chocolate the level of cadmium is around 0.3 mg/kg (0.3 ppm). Our Uganda cacao is lower still and when formulated into dark chocolate the level of cadmium is around 0.25 mg/kg (0.2 ppm). Our Ecuadorian cacao is naturally higher in cadmium and we blend it with the Uganda cacao to formulate our 65% dark chocolate used in our flavored products so that the blend is well below the EU limit. Our dark milk chocolate products are all proportionally lower than our dark chocolate products because they contain less cacao.
Lead in chocolate is due to contamination of the soil where the cacao is grown or contamination of the cacao at some point in the production process. Lead is not normally found in soil at any significant amount. The levels we found in our cacao from all sources are at or below the limit of detection, 0.01 ppm, of the testing method. This is far below any safety limit set by any governmental agency.