Monday, 5 September 2011

Chocolate Part 2: The Dark Truth

Cacao (Theobroma cacao)

In the last post we covered a few basics; but today we are going to delve into the nitty-gritty of the chocolate world. The things you never knew, and maybe never wanted to.

The chocolate begins with cacao farms; the places where the trees are grown and harvested. Unfortunately many farms are not like the happy relaxed places that you see in most promotional videos. Often times the farmers don't make enough money to cover the cost of necessities, let alone lead a comfortable life. Many cacao farms used forced labor; including child labor.

Fresh Cacao from São Tomé & Príncipe

""We could identify some children who, we believe, had been traded in some way and did not have the freedom to leave the farms on which they were working," an IITA report says. The organization found that children harvest the cocoa beans from farms in the jungle using machetes. They spray crops with pesticides and insecticides, without masks, rubber boots or proper equipment."

Such conditions are absolutely deplorable, and by purchasing chocolate that originates in these places you are only helping to perpetuate the problem.

All this for the sake of a sweet snack.

Don't worry, this series isn't quite finished yet -- you can still have your chocolate and feel good about buying it. Don't miss tomorrow's post to find out more!

View Chocolate Part 1: The Cacao Tree and Chocolate Basics

Pictures via cliff1066™ and EverJean


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