After a lengthy discussion and the discovery that the cacao nibs I bought are fair trade, we decided to throw the remainder of the chocolate and cocoa away. It’s true that we have already paid the various growers and middlemen who’ve profited from the slavery of children and therefore we can’t escape culpability, but we decided that we couldn’t enjoy the benefits of the slavery in good conscience.
We ended up throwing away 5 boxes of Baker’s Chocolate (a Kraft Product and not fair trade), 6 bags of Enjoy Life Mega Chunks and Mini-Chips and a container of Hershey’s cocoa powder (not fair trade). Enjoy Life is not fair trade either and issued the following statement on the issue:
“While our chocolate is not fair-trade certified due to strict allergen requirements, our supplier focuses on improving conditions for the cocoa farmers and is committed to operating in an ethical, responsible and safe manner.”
Since there are several other vegan and allergen free chocolate products on the market at least one of which is fair trade (see Mama Ganash) why can’t this be true of other chocolate companies as well?
The reason we decided that we couldn’t benefit from the chocolate we’d already purchased, is that knowing the situation now, there is no way that we could enjoy that benefit. I would always be thinking about the children enslaved as cacao growers, used, manipulated and beaten so that I could have a chocolate chip smoothie and Walt could have my chocolate orange cake. There is no way we can not know this now that we know it and therefore there is no way we could actually eat the products of slavery.
Mea Culpa – This brought me to the fact that last year I had come across Enjoy Life Products in Target and was so excited that they were vegan that I wrote several articles extolling their merits and recommending that vegans use this brand of chocolate chips and chunks in their cooking. I am very sorry I did that and see no way to correct that mistake other than to ask my followers not to buy any chocolate that isn’t fair trade, including Enjoy Life. And say I’m sorry. Especially to the children. It most definitely won’t happen again.
And I will also say that the chocolate industry hasn’t heard the last of this.
For more information on Fair Trade, visit the Fair Trade USA website: http://www.fairtradeusa.org/