Man sues Hershey over lead levels found in chocolate bars

Originally published at: Man sues Hershey over lead levels found in chocolate bars | Boing Boing


Apparently, the US Food and Drug Administration has no federal regulations on the amount of lead or cadmium contained in most foods.

[gobsmacked dumbfounded expression] (ok, only slightly more than usual)
So… can this be quickly remedied? (“…with this congress?”)


Worth pointing out that the original report showed high levels of lead/cadmium even in some boutique chocolates.


Can you sue in New York based on a California law? Legally that sounds fishy, but Hershey will probably just settle. Win for the lawyers.


As previously mentioned, As You Sow did lead and cadmium testing on a lot of chocolates and posted the results for anyone to check. Unlike consumer reports, which wanted me to pay for their results. You can find some safe dark chocolate. Go check whatever your fav is because there are a whole lot with unsafe levels some, like Hershey’s, seem high across all dark chocolate products. Trader Joe’s has some with high levels and some with lower. The dataset is sortable too.

I also saw Trader Joe’s is being sued. Waiting for Godiva so I can join. I had their little dark chocolate bars in my cupboard for my six year old child to eat. I am fucking pissed they had enough fucking lead and cadmium to cause her damage. Luckily, she wasn’t eating them every day and had only been eating one mini bar at a time.
Still. Pissed off. We should absolutely have a federal limit on the amount of heavy metals permitted in food.


As You Sow doesn’t appear to have any recent results for many of the dark chocolates (65%-90%) tested by Consumer Reports last year. I hope they add them soon.

It does look like quite a number of brands had clean numbers up to 2018 and took a plunge in 2022 testing. I wonder what changed in their practices.


It seems like, even if they pass a law controlling lead, the outcome will be… no chocolate in stores (that is, very little at much higher prices, getting snatched up instantly by buyers). They’d have to start growing chocolate in completely different areas with less heavy metal in the soil. It would take years, if they could manage it. (Theoretically they could reduce lead by changing production process and protecting them from dust as they dry, but I don’t know how easy that is.)

According to the Consumer Reports testing, the Trader Joe’s varieties with less lead simply the ones that had less cacao in them. (I noticed a difference in their chocolate in the last few years, which I assumed indicated a change in supplier, which may be why You Sow’s numbers are completely different for those chocolates, as their test dates are almost seven years ago.)


Maybe it’s just because I grew up on diet with enough garbage that I don’t find it, let’s see as the comments on the linked Guardian article state, vile and disgusting.

Sure I do like some premium chocolates, SOME. I’m not going to pay for expensive chocolate to have it taste burnt and bitter.
Who knows, maybe with all the chocolate I ate growing up that explains why I didn’t have any real problem dealing with baby vomit. In the same vein, I don’t find everything with HFCS disgusting compared to the normal sucrose variety. I also don’t find beer appealing or Birkenstock sandals. Any thing that someone says has to “grow on me” or is an “acquired taste” is a hard pass.

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My guess would be changes in who supplied them the ingredients during the pandemic.


Lead and cadmium would probably improve the flavour of Hershey chocolate. Chocolate so bad it makes Cadbury’s taste good.


After a home inspector tipped us off that old porcelain tubs are lead-lined, we tested our own to horrifying results. Of course the NYS civil servant who came to officially test in just condescended to my wife (the only one home at the time) with “your kids aren’t drinking the bath water, right? What’s the problem” and then proceeded to lecture her about how lead poisoning is a conspiracy cooked up by upper-west side liberal helicopter moms.


I thought I’d read in the Consumer Reports piece that older cacao trees tend to concentrate more cadmium in the pods than younger trees. One of the suggestions I’d read to help reduce the levels was to plant new trees, so as to harvest from younger, less contaminated sources. Not sure how realistic that idea is in practice; who knows how long a cacao tree takes to produce viable pods? Citrus trees can take many, many years to bear fruit.

ETA link to Consumer Reports article (link from Guardian article worked for me without a paywall): Lead and Cadmium Could Be in Your Dark Chocolate - Consumer Reports

I’m personally distraught by the whole thing as an avid dark chocolate lover who eats some (okay, oftentimes more than “some”) on a daily basis…and mostly from those listed on the “naughty” list :grimacing:


:grimacing: I’ve only eaten these Cadbury products in the past, but whatever’s inside probably outweighs the skimpy, toxic chocolate shell. :crossed_fingers:t4:

cadbury creme egg camera GIF


But I’m getting my RDA?


Starting next week when the chocolate ration will be increased to 20 grams…


“According to the food standards of the great chocolate producing centres in Quirm and Borogravia, Ankh-Morpork chocolate is formally classed as “cheese” and only just escapes being labelled as “tile grout” on grounds of colour.” Terry Pratchett


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