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Where Does Your Chocolate Originate?

Where Does Your Chocolate Originate?
By Kathryn Neel
Recently, I gave a presentation titled, “The Dark Side of Chocolate”. Most people assumed it was about dark chocolate, and in a sense, it was. The actual objective of the presentation was to raise awareness about why you should know where your chocolate is produced.
Most people are unaware that 70% of all cocoa beans come from West Africa and more specifically from Cote d’Ivoire, the world’s largest producer of cocoa. What most people are completely unaware of is the widespread use of children in cocoa production. The use of child labor is certainly controversial, but more appalling is that 19,000 of these child laborers are the result of human trafficking or slavery. It is estimated that more than 1.8 million children in West Africa are involved in growing cocoa.
Major chocolate producers, such as Nestle and Hershey buy cocoa at commodities exchanges where Ivorian is mixed with other cocoa or sold for the lowest price. In 2013-2014, an estimated 1.4 million children ages 5-year-old to 11-year-old worked in agriculture in cocoa-growing areas, approximately 800,000 of them engaged in hazardous work, including working with sharp tools, agricultural chemicals and carrying heavy loads.
That is why, here at Sappho Chocolates, we refuse to use cocoa produced in West Africa. The cocoa we use to make our chocolates comes from suppliers in Indonesia and South America predominately. There have been no reported cases of child labor or slavery in those regions. We are always quizzing our suppliers about where all our ingredients come from. If a supplier cannot provide us with supporting documentation or references we will not work with them. Not all chocolate is created equal and Sappho Chocolates only works with suppliers who share our values that chocolate should be a delight for everyone, including the laborers.
Do your own research on this subject and ask the question, “Where does this chocolate come from?”