Was Your Chocolate Easter Bunny Made Using Slave Labor?
Would you still pack your kids’ Easter baskets with giant chocolate bunnies if you knew the cocoa beans they were made with were harvested by child slave laborers?
Sorry, we didn’t mean to turn the glory of your annual Easter egg hunt into a downer, but as CNN reports, 70 to 75 percent of cocoa beans are grown in West Africa, with some 200,000 kids “working the fields, many against their will, to satisfy the world’s hunger for chocolate.”
Those stats come from the World Cocoa Foundation and the International Cocoa Initiative, and they’re certainly not welcome news to American chocoholics, who, on average, chow down on 11 pounds of the deliciously sweet treat annually, according to CNN. And, as you might guess, the nation’s second biggest spike in chocolate sales comes right before Easter (Halloween, as you probably guessed, ranks number one). Some 71 million pounds of chocolate fly off store shelves this time of year.
Thankfully, you needn’t give up on the chocolate bunnies (or eggs, coins and other delicacies). Buying organic chocolate is one way to avoid the guilt of giving your kids a treat that, well, other kids toiled to make.
“There are no organic growing techniques, capability, or much interest in West Africa or the Ivory Coast or Ghana,” supply chain expert Gene Tanski tells CNN. “Most of the trees there were planted about 25 years ago, and they’re on the downside of their productive life. If you’re buying organic chocolate or cocoa, you’re nearly ensured that there is no slave labor involved in the growing or production of that chocolate, and you can track the chain.”
Tanski also advises to look at labels to see where the chocolate comes from.
“If it comes from Africa, there is most likely slave labor involved,” he tells CNN. “If it comes from South America or Asia, chances are that there is not.”
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