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Choose organic chocolate

By Shomik Ghosh |
If you're a closet M & M chocoholic, step up to the refined taste of organic chocolate. It's better for the earth than conventionally grown cocoa and oh, the flavor.
The decadent pleasure of savoring a mouth-watering piece of chocolate is as American as apple pie for many. US consumers eat their way through some 2.8 billion pounds of the confection per year, which breaks down to about 12 pounds annually for the average person.[1] Make that chocolate organic and, though it will lighten your wallet more than buying a run-of-the-mill candy bar, you can be assured that it was grown in an environmentally sound way.

Find it! Organic chocolate

Before you buy

With the growing consumer trend to make chocolate "green," the labeling on your chocolate bar can be baffling. Organic chocolate will display a "Certified Organic" label, meaning it has been grown under criteria established by The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Certified Organic chocolate may also be certified by official, third-party organic certification agencies, such as Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA International) and Quality Assurance International (QAI), which are required to use USDA standards at a minimum. You may also find chocolate labeled as Fair Trade Certified or Rainforest Alliance Certified. These additional certifications commonly include environmentally sound farming practices, but the chocolate is not necessarily organic unless it bears official certification. Like other food products certified as organic, the price tag for organic chocolate runs higher in comparison to its conventional counterparts. Typically, a 1.75-ounce organic chocolate bar costs $1 more than the non-organic variety, which may cost under a dollar. Russell Stover Candies recently introduced a new organic line that sells for around 30 percent more than their traditional chocolates.

Choosing organic chocolate helps you go green because…

  • It is free of the toxic fertilizers and pesticides that damage both human health and ecosystems.
  • It supports small-scale farmers in developing nations who often grow cacao trees in the rain forest, helping to preserve that vital habitat.

Footnotes

  1. Reuters - Chocolate is the latest US organic heavy-hitter
  2. WebMD - Health by Chocolate
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