Hershey’s is finding itself in hot water. The chocolate company is being sued for violating MADL (Maximum Allowable Dose Levels) laws. Consumer Reports discovered lead and cadmium in their dark chocolate bars above safe percentage levels. Something the confectionary failed to mention on their packaging.
This seems to be specifically a dark chocolate problem. Apparently, Hershey’s Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate bars, Lily’s Extreme Dark Chocolate 85% Cocoa, and Lily’s Extra Dark Chocolate 70% Cocoa are found guilty of containing heavy metals. The class action suit came from New Yorker Christopher Lazazzaro, and asks for a $5 million settlement, stating that Lazazzaro wouldn’t have bought the bars had he known.
“Consumers reasonably rely on the marketing and information on Defendant’s labels in making purchasing decisions,” according to a statement from Lazazzaro’s lawyers. “By marketing the Products as containing only dark chocolate ingredients, and not disclosing the presence of cadmium and lead, Defendant misleads reasonable consumers.”
Honestly, it’s hard not to be on Lazazzaro’s side. We don’t think anyone should consume a product with even “safe levels” of carcinogens. Despite experts saying California’s MADL policies are extremely conservative. And Andrew Stolbach, a toxicologist at John’s Hopkins Medicine, says that the metal levels aren’t anything to be concerned about. You need only consume fewer candy bars. Not terribly encouraging.
More to the point, why exactly are there highly harmful heavy metals in the chocolate in the first place? If it’s the result of the factory’s process, shouldn’t it be their responsibility to rid edible products of hazardous materials? Lindt and Ghirardelli are also in trouble for this same offense. So doesn’t it seem as though something needs to change on their end?