Heavy Metals in Cacao – Is There Cadmium & Lead in Chocolate?

Chocolate bars on a white background

It’s only natural to worry about the contents of the foods you eat. One of the most worrisome of them is heavy metals. Chemicals like lead and cadmium have long concerned consumers, and now it seems they’re creating some worries for chocolate lovers. But is there really lead in chocolate? How about cadmium?

Keep reading as we take a closer look at the presence of these heavy metals in chocolate and discuss their possible health consequences.

Is There Cadmium and Lead in Dark Chocolate?

A recent consumer report revealed that 23 of 28 dark chocolate bars from different brands may contain heavy metals. The level of lead and cadmium in these chocolate bars was similar to another report by the FDA. They found 7.6 micrograms of cadmium and 0.8 micrograms of lead in every ounce of chocolate.

These reports mean that chocolate may have the third-highest concentration of these heavy metals after baking powder and sunflower seeds. However, the presence of cadmium and lead in chocolate is nothing new to the chocolate companies.

Consumers are concerned by this information and they’re wondering whether they can still enjoy their healthy chocolate snacks. Considering the health consequences of these heavy metals, they have a right to be concerned.

Lead in the Body

There may be lead in dark chocolate. However, the more prominent carriers of this heavy metal may be cereals, grains, potatoes, leafy greens, and even tap water. Too much lead in chocolate may affect the central nervous system and cause cardiovascular disorders.

Cadmium in the Body

The level of cadmium in cacao is nothing compared to the amount of cadmium that may be found in cereals, pulses, vegetables, and meat products. This heavy metal may primarily affect the kidneys and may cause renal failure and bone demineralization.

Cacao’s Prop 65 Warning

California has a strict consumer protection policy regarding heavy metals. That is why the state passed the Proposition 65 law in 1986. This law regulates the presence of potentially toxic chemicals in foods. Since there is lead and cadmium in chocolate, cacao products have a Prop 65 warning.

The accepted levels of cadmium and lead in chocolate, according to this law, are as follows:

Cacao Content

Maximum Lead (ppm)

Maximum Cadmium (ppm)

< 65%



65% - 95%



> 95%



Is There Cadmium and Lead in All Dark Chocolate Products?

A man picking a yellow cacao fruit

Yes. Lead and cadmium are natural metals found in the environment. Due to their presence in the Earth’s crust, they end up in a lot of food. So it’s natural for you to find these heavy metals in chocolate, especially since cacao trees also have deep roots.

Should I Be Concerned About Cadmium and Lead in Chocolate?

While these metals can harm the body in high concentrations, there is no need to worry if you eat quality cacao or chocolate. After all, dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols that may offer various health benefits to the body.

Limit yourself to a daily ounce of chocolate and consult your doctor about eating this delicious treat if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. It’s also good to talk about your children’s consumption with their doctor. To avoid the health consequences of lead and cadmium in cocoa powder, choose quality products with the lowest concentrations of these heavy metals.

Enjoy Higher Quality Chocolate With Wildly Organic’s Cacao Products

There is no way to avoid cadmium and lead in dark chocolate. However, you can buy higher-quality products that have lesser amounts of cadmium and lead. At Wildly Organic, we offer you the most delicious cacao products that are thoroughly tested for heavy metals.

Our fermented cacao powder has the lowest levels of cadmium and lead. Meanwhile, our non-fermented cacao powder offers the same outstanding flavor for people who are allergic to histamines. We also carry other high-quality cacao products like nibs and butter that have been thoroughly tested for heavy metals that are well below the thresholds for safety.

Shop now to enjoy authentic chocolate and cacao made with thoughtful practices that have your health and well-being in mind. Shop Wildly Organic today and get free US shipping on orders over $49! 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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