In the constant search for pleasure and satisfaction, chocolates have become one of the most loved and consumed foods worldwide. Among the many brands that conquer our palates, Hershey's is a name that stands out, but a warning has recently emerged that has shaken chocolate lovers.
According to the Consumers Union of America, Hershey's products contain heavy metals, such as cadmium and lead, which has caused concern and alarm among consumers.
The Consumer Reports alarm
The alarm was sounded through the publication "Consumer Reports", a trusted reference when it comes to product quality and consumer safety. In their article published on October 25, 2023, alarming test results were revealed. Hershey's chocolate powder and baking products showed "concerning" levels of lead, a highly toxic heavy metal.
Beyond the concern, testing also revealed that some Hershey's chocolate bars contained more lead and cadmium compared to products from other manufacturers. This finding has unleashed a series of questions that consumers rightly ask.
Why are lead and cadmium so dangerous?
Lead and cadmium are heavy metals that, in high concentrations, can be toxic to the human body. Brian Ronholm, director of food policy at the Consumers Union of America, has warned about the risks of exposure to these metals.
Cadmium, in particular, has been identified as a carcinogenic compound, and prolonged exposure to high levels of cadmium can cause kidney damage, lung damage, and bone fragility.
On the other hand, lead can cause anemia, hypertension, kidney dysfunction and damage to the reproductive organs, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In children, continued exposure to high concentrations of lead can affect brain development.
Other brands facing the problem
To contextualize the seriousness of the situation, Consumer Reports also evaluated products from other well-known brands, such as Nestlé, Costco and Walmart. The results of these tests revealed that these brands did not present the same anomalies that were found in Hershey's products.
This brings us to a key question: why has Hershey's failed to reduce the presence of heavy metals in its products, while other companies have done so?
The numbers don't lie
The data collected by Consumer Reports is revealing. Of the 48 chocolate products analyzed, 16 of them showed lead and cadmium concentrations above recommended levels: 0.5 micrograms of lead and 4.1 micrograms of cadmium per day. These concentrations are typically higher in dark chocolate products, making the issue even more concerning.
Lily's Extremely Dark Chocolate, manufactured by Hershey's, was noted as one of the chocolate bars with the highest concentrations of cadmium and lead on the US market. For its part, Scharffen Berger Extra Dark Chocolate, also from Hershey's, presented alarming amounts of cadmium.
A call for attention
The US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ASTDR) has warned about the risks of exposure to cadmium and lead. The presence of these metals in Hershey's products not only poses a public health concern, but also casts doubt on corporate responsibility in producing safe and healthy foods.
The collection of 75,000 signatures last May demanding Hershey's take concrete action against the presence of heavy metals in its products demonstrates consumer concern and demand for quality, safe products. It is essential that the company takes appropriate measures to address this issue and restore the trust of its customers.
Consumers have the right to safe, high-quality products, and it is the responsibility of companies to ensure that their products meet these standards. The warning about Hershey's chocolates reminds us of the importance of transparency and responsibility in the food industry. The health of consumers should not be compromised for the sake of chocolate indulgence.