Consumer Reports Urge Hershey To Take Action Against Heavy Metal Content

Consumer reports reveals dangerous heavy metal content in various chocolate products, pressing Hershey to enhance safety measures

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According to a report published by Reuters on Wednesday, Consumer Reports has raised concerns regarding the presence of lead and cadmium in several chocolate products, renewing its call for Hershey, a prominent chocolate manufacturer, to take immediate action to reduce the levels of these harmful heavy metals in its offerings. 

The investigation conducted by the magazine revealed that among the 48 chocolate products tested, 16, across different categories including dark chocolate, milk chocolate, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and various baking mixes, contained alarmingly high levels of lead, cadmium, or both. 

Even milk chocolate bars, which have fewer cocoa solids, were not entirely exempt from detectable metal content, though they did not surpass acceptable limits. Consumer Reports has repeatedly highlighted the potential health risks associated with long-term exposure to these metals, including nervous system problems, immune system suppression, and kidney damage, with pregnant women and children being especially vulnerable.

Notable products identified as having excessive metal content in this recent investigation included a dark chocolate bar and hot chocolate mix from Walmart, cocoa powder from Hershey's and Droste, semi-sweet chocolate chips from Target, and hot chocolate mixes from Trader Joe's, Nestle, and Starbucks. 

This is not the first time Consumer Reports has called out Hershey for high metal levels in its chocolate products; the magazine conducted a similar test in December, which showed that 23 out of 28 dark chocolate bars, including Hershey's own brand, Lily's, and Scharffen Berger, had elevated lead or cadmium levels.

Consumer Reports is now renewing its appeal to Hershey, urging the company to commit to eliminating these dangerous levels of heavy metals from its chocolate products. Over 75,000 consumers had already signed a previous petition on this issue. The food policy director at Consumer Reports, Brian Ronholm, emphasized that Hershey, as a leading and popular brand, holds a responsibility to ensure the safety of its products for consumers. 

Meanwhile, Hershey had previously expressed its intentions to reduce the presence of lead and cadmium in its chocolate, acknowledging that cadmium, in particular, is a naturally occurring element whose levels can vary depending on the source of the cocoa beans.

Hershey referred requests for comments to the National Confectioners Association, and the association's spokesman, Christopher Gindlesperger, affirmed that chocolate and cocoa remain safe to eat and enjoy as treats, emphasizing their historical consumption. However, with ongoing concerns over heavy metal levels, it is evident that further measures are needed to ensure the safety of chocolate products for consumers. 

Consumer Reports' findings underscore the necessity for chocolate manufacturers, including industry giants like Hershey, to prioritize the health and well-being of their customers and take concrete actions to minimize heavy metal contamination in their products.


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