I recently read an article by Gregory Myers, that provided random facts about chocolate. Beware, what you’ll find there is depressing. From slave labor to fraudulent products, the cons of the chocolate industry are pretty heavy.
Slave labor in food production, like chocolate, is not something newly discovered. Cattle farms in Brazil and sugarcane producing Latin America have both been known to use forced labor or even child slaves…and people have been deceiving others over the quality of their product or services for centuries.
One of the listings explained that chocolate manufacturing companies in America tried to convince the FDA to allow them to replace cocoa butter with Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO =Trans Fat, which has been known to increase risk of coronary heart disease). In 2007, a petition was brought to the FDA by people representing the Chocolate Manufacturers Assn. (which includes Hershey, Nestlé, and Archer Daniels Midland), the Grocery Manufacturers Assn., the Snack Food Assn. and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. as well as several more, that requested to basically blindside the public…
According to their petition on file at the FDA:
“Consumer expectations still define the basic nature of a food. There are, however, no generally held consumer expectations today concerning the precise technical elements by which commonly recognized, standardized foods are produced. Consumers, therefore, are not likely to have formed expectations as to production methods, aging time or specific ingredients used for technical improvements, including manufacturing efficiencies.”
As Myers points out in his article, in more simplified terms, they’re saying we really wouldn’t notice if they used something lesser in quality than cocoa butter.
What these people attempted to do was/is incredibly wrong and I firmly believe if their petition had passed, we’d be that much closer to a Soylent Green future. But what is even more unfortunate than that revelation, is that the people who created the petition are fairly correct. I can’t help but think about the fact that the average American typically does not like to question where our favorite foods and luxuries come from. We don’t like to feel guilty…it’s just such a pesky emotion.
When a person first discovers the awful truth about the production and manufacturing methods (sometimes the ingredients) of something they enjoy (perhaps it’s brought to us by slave labor, animal cruelty, wars, etc) they are faced with just a couple of choices.
They can stop using the controversial item, sacrificing the joy and convenience they get from said item and accept that this may also cause your family and social circle to think of you as pretentious and a “Debbie Downer” or the newly enlightened person can continue to use the item, eat the delicious snackies and refuse to accept/acknowledge the facts, while the awful truth battles on as they embrace sweet denial and claim blissful ignorance. It’s possible they may also not want to upset the applecart, share the miserable guilt of the truth….because no one likes to be the messenger when the message contains bad news (except people on the news…they can’t get enough bad news).
*Chocolate facts by Gregory Myers: http://listverse.com/2013/02/18/10-fascinating-facts-about-the-world-of-chocolate/
*Like Oil For Chocolate by Kerry Trueman: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kerry-trueman/like-oil-for-chocolate_b_46693.html
*Is There Slavery in Your Chocolate? by John Robbins: http://www.johnrobbins.info/blog/is-there-slavery-in-your-chocolate/
*13 products by Ryan McCarthy: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/18/child-labor-products_n_798601.html#s210960&title=13_Carpets
*Slave Labor in America by Leonard Doyle: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/slave-labour-that-shames-america-765881.html
*END IT Movement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=11d5Z_hPlto
*I’m With Lincoln: http://slaveryfootprint.org/#sthash.HkHxgny0.dpbs
*Monsato Abuse by Anthony Gucciardi: http://naturalsociety.com/monsanto-abusing-illegal-workers-in-slave-like-conditions/
*Hershey Still using forced labor by Tom Hals: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/02/hershey-child-labor_n_2060702.html
*Hershey to End Use of Slaves by 2020 by Andri Antoniades: http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/10/06/hershey-vows-stop-using-child-slave-labor-eight-more-years
*Importation of Slavery by The Food Power Project: http://www.foodispower.org/importing_slavery.php