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Feb 4, 2009

Much of the cocoa that is produced around the world is grown using unsustainable farming practices. That sweet little treat could be contributing to deforestation, toxic pollution and exploitative labor practices. By choosing organic, fair trade or sustainably-grown chocolate, you can enjoy quality chocolate sweets that won't leave a bitter taste in your mouth. But read the label carefully to make sure you're getting the best chocolate for you and the environment.

Traditionally, farmers planted native cocoa plants underneath the shade of canopy trees, preserving the forest and using less pesticides. But many farmers have cut down forests to grow new hybrid cocoa varieties more intensively, using more pesticides and fungicides to keep pests at bay.

Choose chocolate that is better for the environment, look for organic or fair trade certified chocolate. "All natural" does not mean that the cocoa is organic or grown without pesticides. There are a number of certification programs, check the label before buying and choose chocolate that is certified by one of these programs:

USDA Organic: Cocoa with a USDA Organic label is produced without antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, irradiation or bioengineering. Organic cocoa farmers must adhere to soil and water conservation methods.

Fair Trade: Cocoa crops with this certification meet strict economic, social and environmental criteria both in their production and trade. That includes fair pricing, humane labor conditions, environmental sustainability and other regulations. Read more about Fair Trade Certified.

Rainforest Alliance Certified: This chocolate has met strict guidelines to protect the environment, wildlife, workers and local communities. Certification offers cocoa growers guidance on efficient production practices that will preserve resources and do not negatively impact local communities or the environment, including reduced pesticide use. More on the Rainforest Alliance

  • Choose a better chocolate for the environment. Look for USDA Organic, Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance Certified products.

Organic chocolate can be a sweet way to introduce friends, coworkers and family to organic food and sustainable farming. Give organic chocolate on special occasions.

  • Learn which conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables contain the most pesticide residues and choose organic when it matters the most. Learn more


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Posted: Feb 4, 2009 10:15am


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