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US report finds 'concerning' levels of lead, cadmium in chocolates; top trade body responds

US report finds 'concerning' levels of lead, cadmium in chocolates; top trade body responds
After US-based non-profit group Consumer Reports alleged it detected a "concerning" amount of lead and cadmium in popular chocolate brands during tests, the National Confectioners Association (NCA) has said that "chocolate and cocoa are safe to eat".

Consumer Reports tested 48 products across seven categories of chocolate products, and 16 of the products included higher amounts of lead or cadmium than the organisation considers safe, according to Forbes.

The products found to contain excessive metal content allegedly included dark chocolate bar and hot chocolate mix from Walmart, cocoa powder from Hershey's and Droste, semi-sweet chocolate chips from Target, and hot chocolate mixes from Trader Joe's, Nestle, and Starbucks, according to the Consumer Reports findings.

Among dark chocolate bars tested, Perugina, which is owned by Nestle, allegedly had the highest amounts of lead, while Evolved allegedly had the highest level of cadmium.

In response to the Consumer Reports article on chocolate and cocoa, the NCA said late on Wednesday that "chocolate and cocoa are safe to eat and can be enjoyed as treats as they have been for centuries".

"Food safety and product quality remain our highest priorities and we remain dedicated to being transparent and socially responsible," said the association, the leading trade organisation for the US confectionery industry.

Evolved said in a statement that it "regularly tests raw materials and finished goods to ensure compliance and ultimately, consumer safety."

A Nestle spokesperson was quoted as saying that the company works with its suppliers "on an ongoing basis to closely monitor and minimise the presence of these substances" in its products.

Target said its products in the report met federal product safety requirements.

The Consumer Reports group used California's standard maximum allowable dose of each metal as a comparison.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only has limits for the amount of the two metals in certain foods, and Consumer Reports scientists "believe that California's standard levels are the most protective available".

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