International Chocolate Day…Child Labour and Fairtrade Chocolate…


I don’t think anyone needs a special day to eat a square or two of chocolate…but maybe it’s an excuse to indulge in another square or two…BUT before you do… let’s take a minute to think about where your chocolate comes from and at what human cost…

FIRSTLY… there is Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate and White Chocolate…it also appears there is a new kid on the block called Ruby Chocolate…but is it or is it just clever marketing to make us think it is a bar of new exciting chocolate from a rare variety of the cocoa Bean?

Apparently, it is not from a rare cocoa bean...the company that produces this are remaining very tight-lipped about their chocolate…they may be laughing all the way to the bank especially on Valentine’s day…however there is no rare cocoa bean in sight…

Instead, ruby chocolate is actually just regular cocoa beans that have a “particular mix of compounds,” which likely refers to high levels of pigmented polyphenols referred to in the chocolate’s 2009 patent. Additionally, the patent notes the unique processing technique also lends to the pink colour.

The patent describes a way to make a “cocoa-derived material red or purple” by minimizing fermentation (3 days or less), treating the product with an acid, and using petroleum ether to remove fatty acids to preserve the colour…Ewwww..after reading that I’ll stick to my dark chocolate methinks…

Plus …this makes me smile…technically it is not defined as true chocolate by the FDA…The FDA has guidelines and amounts of what can and can’t be in a product…maximum and minimum amounts of certain products…thus while Ruby chocolate has all the ingredients of regular chocolate it doesn’t meet the correct percentages…

Chocolate and Child Labour…

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the chocolate industry’s promise to end child labour in the cocoa sector of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, a commitment they made under the 2001 Harkin-Engel Protocol and renewed again with the 2010 Framework of Action. Furthermore, it is the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.

This year should have been a landmark in the fight against child labour in cocoa. Instead, the cocoa sector as a whole has been conspicuously quiet on this topic.

Child labour is still a reality on West African cocoa farms, and there is strong evidence that forced labour continues in the sector as well. Recent reports – such as Ghana’s GLSS 7 survey and the study of the University of Chicago commissioned by the United States government – show that close to 1.5 million children are engaged in hazardous or age-inappropriate work on cocoa farms in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. The vast majority of these child labourers are exposed to the worst forms of child labour, such as carrying heavy loads, working with dangerous tools, and increasing exposure to harmful agrochemicals.

All of this made me look for chocolate that has Fair Trade certification…

Fairtrade cocoa is an agricultural product harvested from a cocoa tree using a certified process that is followed by cocoa farmers, buyers, and chocolate manufacturers, and is designed to create sustainable incomes for farmers and their families.

But is it fair…

Chocolate can sometimes be labelled as fair trade because some of the ingredients being used are fair trade, but the cocoa being used may not be. … Some chocolate bars may be certified fair trade as a result of certain ingredients – but that doesn’t always mean that the cocoa that they use is fair trade certified…

Fairtrade chocolate makes up 12% of chocolate sales in the UK. Yes, that figure is not so high when you look at the amount of chocolate purchased overall…Fairtrade chocolate accounts for 12% of total sales in the UK – although the trend for Fairtrade-certified cocoa treats is growing (see the Global Cocoa Market 2016-2020)…I think it is not growing fast enough we should be more diligent when we are buying chocolate spare a thought when you save a dime or three on a chocolate bar how much is that child earning…then enjoy your chocolate.

Why is it that everything has get-out clauses? Everything I buy I have to double-check as I cannot rely on a manufacturer being 100% honest and reliable with the fact and figures they put on their labels to me there are far too many variables..too many loopholes…all this means is we cannot trust what we are told and most of all …I am almost certain that child labour and fairtrade will be exactly the same in 10 years time…That makes me angry and sad…

How much money does the chocolate industry make per year?

According to a chocolate industry analysis from Grand View Research, an industry study group global chocolate sales were valued at $130.56 billion in 2019 and are expected to grow at a rate of about 4.6 per cent a year for the next few years…Projected global sales by 2027 are expected to be about $187 billion.

It may be International Chocolate Day...but the industry needs to be far more transparent
and do what it says on the tin or sadly I won’t be buying any more chocolate…unless I can
categorically tell myself it is what it is…Frankly though with the huge sales per year which runs
into billions, they could clean the industry up very quickly and properly and dispense with child
labour plus pay a living wage… it is pure unadulterated greed and profiteering.


See you tomorrow where it’s my plastic update…Have a lovely evening x


30 thoughts on “International Chocolate Day…Child Labour and Fairtrade Chocolate…

  1. Pingback: The Culinary Alphabet…A-Z…The Letter O… | Retired? No one told me!

  2. Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

    Dreadful Carol.. and I have to say that we tend to eat dark chocolate and generally buy Green & Black’s organic range..they have had a fairtrade foundation for over 20 years.. I look at all the shite being sold in the supermarkets already for Christmas and there is no doubt that much of it at the price they are charging comes from less than sustainable sources.. Terrific post..hugsx

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. Norah

    We do need to check the background of all our purchases. Highlighting the difficulties with chocolate production, something that most of us enjoy, is a good place to start. We’ve got a long way to go towards equity. Thanks for this informative post, Carol.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. petespringerauthor

    Chocolate falls into that category of things I try not to keep around the house because I like it a little too much. I reward myself once a month with a candy bar if I’ve done well on my weight during the month.

    Thank goodness for child labor laws. Kids should be allowed to be kids.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Yes, Pete they may work in western countries not so in others …child labour still goes on and helps produce many a chocolate bar…But I agree kids should be kids …

      Liked by 1 person

  6. beetleypete

    In adult life, I rarely eat chocolate. When I did, I preferred very dark chocolate, and those ‘chocolate mint crisps’. I could eat a whole packet of those! If I have anything sweet now, I prefer doughnuts, or soft nougat with pistachios.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen

    It’s really a sad state when you know that it is probably not going to change. I buy Equal Exchange chocolate, and I think from our church’s research that this is really a fair traded brand and I hope sincerely that no child labor was involved.

    Liked by 1 person


    I am a dark chocolate lover.

    What you said about child labour and modern slavery is so true. It is disturbing to us because we want children to be able to enjoy running free and having the chance to learn through an academic education. It hurts to see children sent to work. We have seen it with our own eyes during our travels Carol in many lands. The sad thing is that in some cases, we have known families say they could not feed all of their children, and they felt in a position where they had to consider options that to us are unthinkable, marrying their daughters when they should be at school, selling a child as a servant, or sending their child to work in agriculture or manufacturing to earn some pittance that can help to provide for the whole family. In most cases, sending a child to work is a better option than selling them as slaves or as wives.

    I have also worked for UK companies and seen some of the paperwork they sent to overseas suppliers. I was shocked at how pathetic it was. They had a simple questionnaire asking “Do you employ child labourers?” If the reply was NO, then it was alright to trade with them. I remember looking at my bosses and asking if anyone actually went out to visit these suppliers to see their manufacturing processes in person and to verify they don’t use children. I never was able to receive a satisfactory answer to that and I was appalled by the pathetic paperwork that was all I ever saw to substantiate the arrangement.

    As I traveled and saw the enormous differences economically between western lands and many other parts of the world, I just knew that this is a grossly inadequate arrangement. I started to feel rather appalled by the excesses in the western world. I feel passionate that every single youth should spend a year of their education living in a land without all the mod-cons of the western world. I think they need to see how billions of people live, and they need to experience that for around a year to grasp that the current way this earth is managed is just not acceptable. Without that I think very little of the education system.

    Liked by 2 people


      A very good insight from both sides and we know this is not simple; from picking almonds in bad conditions for Nutella to the rag trade. For most of history children have not been treated as they should. We can’t be smug when we think of chimney sweeps or the watch industry that needed children with their nimble fingers…

      Liked by 1 person

    2. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Thank you, Caramel for your comment…I have previously heard how lax the Fairtrade rules are but a simple no defies belief…children have as Janet pointed out have for centuries been exploited and used by certain industries it is so ingrained in some cultures and needs must as they say but it is as you point out sad and right that children should be children and have an education interestingly I was reading the other day how the UN and Cop26 are calling for equality around the world with regards to food and water… basic necessities which western cultures have in abundance and most others don’t unfortunately…there is great imbalance in many things I would love to see more equality but is that asking too much I fear it may be…


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