Harshing the Chocolate Mellow

Many of us have fond memories of childhood Halloweens and Trick-or-Treating… and of course, we get to re-live the experience again through our children and grand-children. As a kid, I have to say, I probably looked forward to Halloween as much as Christmas. Of course our favorite part was that mix of goodies in our bags at the end of the night, the best of all being the mini chocolate bars. Sweet bliss!

But there is a dark side to chocolate that isn’t measured by a percentage of cacao on the label. There is an existence in chocolate production that is more ghoulish than anything our own little goblins can imagine: Child slavery.

Here are a few facts:

While the US spends $13 Billion a year on cocoa/chocolate products, countries that grow cocao plants are impoverished.

While American children eat chocolate on a regular basis, children who have been sold into working on cacao plantations don’t even know what chocolate is.

While there is an epidemic of childhood obesity in the US, desperately poor families in the Ivory Coast are selling their children to plantations for $30.

While most Americans believe that slavery is morally wrong, and human slavery is illegal in the places it is found, it is flourishing on the Ivory Coast and Americans are supporting it by consuming non-fair trade chocolate and cocoa.

But you have options! Chocolate comes from plants and is therefore proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy!

If you need your chocolate, don’t despair. Fair Trade is an ethical option for buying cocoa, chocolate chips, and chocolate candy – but it is the only one. The major manufacturers of chocolate in the US – Nestle, Hershey’s M&M Mars and others all have slavery in their supply chains. If we want to end the selling of children into slavery on Cocoa plantations, these manufacturers need to hear the public voice saying “NO” to their products.

Does anyone need a Hershey kiss enough to enslave a child for it? You can give these children a real kiss by supporting companies that hire people legally and pay them a fair wage.

Links
http://www.stopthetraffik.org/ourwork/chocolate/
http://www.facts-about-chocolate.com/fair-trade-chocolate.html
Chocolate, Unchained http://dissidentvoice.org/Oct05/Hall1031.htm

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4 Responses to Harshing the Chocolate Mellow

  1. Pingback: Recipe: Pumpkin Chocolate/Carob Chip Cookies | In-A-Gadda-Da-Vegan

  2. Bill says:

    Most chocolate isnt vegan. I’m surprised you left that out!

  3. Doug Gibson says:

    Carob was a popular alternative when I was a teen in Long Beach Cal. There were lots of carob trees in my neighborhood.

  4. Mark Shenefelt says:

    Here’s a good Fortune story from 2008 about all the ramifications of this issue.

    http://money.cnn.com/2008/01/24/news/international/chocolate_bittersweet.fortune/

    Ironically, the exploited farmers and children would suffer if chocolate consumption dropped dramatically. The story indicates there’s a lot of foot-dragging by companies to comply with a 2001 anti-slavery law, and fair trade chocolate accounts for only 1 percent of supply:

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