Bottom Line: Heavy metal in easter chocolate

Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 6:57 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC/CONSUMER REPORTS) - Easter and chocolate - the two go hand-in-hand, but before you unwrap those tempting chocolates in that Easter basket, Consumer Reports says there are some you might want to leave hidden in the grass.

Chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies, and chocolate in so many different shapes and sizes are bound to make your kids just downright giddy.

Consumer Reports found something concerning during its recent investigation into dark chocolate that you should know about.

“We tested 28 dark chocolate bars and found concerning levels of cadmium or lead, two toxic heavy metals, in most of them,” Kevin Loria, Consumer Reports.

For 23 of the bars, eating just an ounce a day would put an adult over a level that CR’s experts and public health authorities say may be harmful.

“Kidney damage, hypertension, and reproductive issues are just some of the various health problems associated with consistent, long-term exposure to heavy metals. And the risks for kids are even greater,” said Loria.

In young children, even small amounts of metals can cause developmental problems, affect brain development, and lead to lower IQ.

The industry has taken notice. The National Confectioners Association, an industry trade group, has said that “lead reductions can be expected within the first year of implementing new handling practices,” though it says lowering cadmium may take longer.

You may be wondering about milk chocolate, which is probably the majority of chocolate your kids will get—and most of what makes up Easter candy.

“Milk chocolate tends to have lower levels of heavy metals, but you’re typically trading that off with a lot more added sugars,” said Loria

CR’s experts suggest following a rule that could apply to all chocolate: Consume it as an occasional treat.

Yes, chocolate can have some health benefits! Cacao contains flavanols­, which have been shown to help blood vessels “relax,” reduce inflammation, and lower cholesterol.

“Consumer Reports TV News” is published by Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization that does not accept advertising and does not have any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site

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