Every year, particularly around Valentine's Day and Halloween, we feel compelled to remind shoppers that all chocolate — while delicious — is not created equal.
Big chocolate manufacturers claimed in the 1990s that they were not aware of child trafficking rampant in the industry. But yet, over two decades later, not much has been done about it. Partly, the situation remains the same because they feel people don't care enough about it. With a lot of money at stake, the cocoa industry has lobbied successfully to ensure any "slave-free" certification stays off labeling. But even when confronted with the issue, many consumers will continue to buy bars that are not labeled "fair trade" or don't have any indication of the bare minimum of ethical sourcing whatsoever.
Powerful global conglomerates are betting that you will continue to not care as consumers, but you can begin to change that by choosing your chocolate purchases more thoughtfully. Ask local candymakers and sweet shops that you support where they source their chocolate and if it's fair trade. Encourage your friends to join you in only purchasing treats labeled as certified fair trade. It's the one sure way you can know your bar wasn't produced on the backs of child labor.
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