Avoid "blood chocolate" for a sustainable Easter celebration
You've probably heard of "blood diamonds." But unfortunately diamonds aren’t the only commodity that is produced with slave labor. Many African cocoa farms produce "blood chocolate," at the cost of cruel labor practices and child abuse.
Africa, especially its Ivory Coast, is the world's largest cocoa producer, according to a guest post on Treehugger.com by Ted Dworkin of the Global Exchange Fair Trade Online Store. ("The Bitter Truth About Chocolate.")
According to Dworkin, the US State Department has reported slavery on many of these cocoa farms, and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture reported in 2002 that nearly 284,000 children were working under unsafe conditions. Back in the United States chocolate manufacturers often don’t take responsibility for these unsafe working conditions, because they do not own the farms.
But there is growing awareness of this problem, and now many chocolate brands, manufacturers and importers, in addition to consumers, are insisting on slave-free chocolate products. Even the chocolate giant Cadbury announced in March 2009 that they plan to achieve fair trade certification for their top selling chocolate bar, Cadbury Dairy Milk, by the end of this summer.