The Real Truth Behind Chocolate

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Easter is almost upon us and it is accompanied by the usual overflowing chocolate filled supermarket shelves and children who are eagerly waiting for the Easter Bunny to visit them!

Whilst it is all in good fun, we are all well aware that too much chocolate indulging is a definitely not good for kids.

Less obvious however is the quality of chocolate that we purchase or more importantly where it comes from and how it has been made.  Chocolate quality varies with some manufacturers using cheap, poor quality vegetable oils, compound chocolates, colours and additives.  All of these ingredients can have negative health implications on our children.

 

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And on an even more serious note and what we know even less about is how the chocolate comes to be.  70% of the cocoa beans that are used to comprise the world’s chocolate, come from West Africa.  Harvesting cocoa beans is a tough job and farmers in West Africa are struggling to pay their workers despite the popularity of the bean.

To combat this issue, farmers have begun including their own children in the industry, to help harvest beans and work on the farms.  Sadly, it has gone a step further and they have resorted to child labour; literally using children to perform long hours of backbreaking labour for little to no pay.  They are forced to work with hazardous materials, fire, chemicals and knives.

 

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Children as young as six are working 80-100 hours per week, with no chance of education or time to play.  They are malnourished and punished with beatings to ensure they work harder.

Although the Australian chocolate industry is working towards stopping this practice, it is a huge hurdle to overcome and the practice is still occurring.

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Before you rush off to the supermarket to buy chocolate for your kids this Easter, think about the kids who worked hard to get the beans to make the chocolate. Always look for the Fairtrade logo before buying chocolate as supporting Fairtrade makes a huge difference to the lives of cocoa farmers and their families around the world.

If you’d like to do more to support Fairtrade and help stop this atrocious practice, visit  Slave Free Chocolate, a great site dedicated to raising awareness about the slavery and other labor abuses that taint the vast majority of chocolate products, and to encouraging and facilitating actions aimed at ending those abuses.

Shop ethical has a list of chocolate brands and how they rate here and the Good Chocolate Guide by World Vision here.

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If you are looking for locally made, ethical and organic chocolate this Easter then check out our Eco Toy store online here.

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(The original post was written on the Eco Toys Blog in 2014).

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