Working together to reduce cadmium in chocolate

April 27, 2015

Eleanne van Vliet, MPH
Director, Toxic Chemicals Research
As You Sow
1611 Telegraph Ave., Ste. 1450
Oakland, CA 94612

Dear Ms. Vliet,

I’m writing to thank you for your research about the prevalence of lead and cadmium in chocolate, and to offer support for As You Sow’s efforts to convene a roundtable of chocolate manufacturers to address the problem.

As the nation’s largest consumer-owned natural grocer in the country, PCC Natural Markets’ nearly 55,000 member-owners seek food that’s sustainably produced and healthful. Our chocolate selection reflects shoppers’ preference for organic and fair trade choices. In fact, a few years ago PCC was the first retailer in the country to announce we will sell only fair trade chocolate and cocoa.

Among our organic, fair trade choices are three brands cited in your report as having high levels of lead and/or cadmium: Theo Chocolate, Equal Exchange and Green & Black’s. We have reached out to these brands to inquire about their plans to address the contamination. We’d like to offer to help facilitate dialogue between these brands and others cited in your report as part of an effort to address what surely is a systemic problem in the chocolate industry.

The many routes of heavy metal contamination — from the soil through processing and distribution — mean this is a problem that will not be solved quickly or without cooperation. You can count PCC as a partner in moving toward that goal.
Again, we thank you for bringing attention to an issue that should be of concern to chocolate-lovers around the world.


Eli Penberthy
Public Affairs, PCC Natural Markets

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