SAVANAH HERNANDEZ: Hershey says it will remove toxic metals linked to cancer from its candy bars

Hershey’s is back in the news after reports exposed that their chocolate contains toxic heavy metals that are linked to cancer, developmental issues and reproductive health issues. 


If you’re a fan of Hershey’s chocolate, their CFO just made a great announcement! They are going to be removing the toxic heavy metals found in their chocolate. This announcement comes after Consumer Reports tested their chocolate and found traces of lead and cadmium in their chocolate, heavy metals that have been found to cause cancer and reproductive health problems when ingested. 


Late last year Consumer Reports,  found that, “dark chocolate bars contain cadmium and lead—two heavy metals linked to a host of health problems in children and adults”. In an attempt to see which brands contained these heavy metals, Consumer Reports decided to conduct a test on 28 different chocolate brands. They found heavy metals in every single one. 


However, it was Hershey’s dark chocolate bar that contained the most amount of lead, at 265 percent more than California's maximum allowable dose level. Lily’s, another chocolate brand owned by Hershey’s, were rated both “high in lead” and  “high in both lead and cadmium”. With Lily’s “Extra Dark Chocolate” bar testing for 144 percent in lead and their “Extremely Dark Chocolate” bar testing at 143 percent lead and 101 percent more cadmium than the allowable dose level. 


Consumer Reports reiterates that “heavy metal poses particular concerns and no amount of it is considered safe”. 


Consumer Reports focused on the dark chocolate bars made by Hershey’s at the end of 2022, sharing that they, “contained possibly harmful levels of lead, cadmium or both for people who eat more than one ounce per day,” per Reuters. The three bars mentioned here weigh in at 1.45 ounces and 2.8 ounces. 


This announcement has led to a class action lawsuit against the Hershey company for their, “deceptive and misleading business practices” per plaintiffs. Plaintiffs arguing that Hershey’s, “fails to disclose on the Products’ packaging that the Products contain lead and cadmium. Lead is a dangerous and harmful chemical when consumed, especially by pregnant women and children. Scientists agree that there is no level of lead that is safe. The company should have warned customers of the toxic metals they were consuming,” per the lawsuit. 


The lawsuit states that children, specifically under the age of 6 are prone to lead poisoning which can lead to developmental and health problems. Cadmium is also mentioned as a product that is used in materials such as, “including batteries, pigments, metal coatings, and plastics, and it is found in cigarette smoke.” 


Cadmium is also known to be carcinogenic to humans with lead exposure leading to, “high blood pressure and brain, kidney and reproductive health issues in adults,” per New York City’s health website


Per Hershey CFO, Steve Voskiul, the reason cadmium and lead are even found in Hershey’s products is due to the metals being a naturally occurring mineral in agriculture that gets transferred into the product via cocoa beans. However, out of the 28 brands tested, Hershey’s had some of the highest levels of lead and cadmium per Consumer Reports. 


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