Hershey’s Sued over Dark Chocolate Contents


Hershey Chocolate Sign | Image by Joseph Skompski/Shutterstock

The Hershey Company is under fire for allegedly selling dark chocolate containing lead and cadmium.

Last week in New York, resident Christopher Lazazzaro filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Hershey in federal court, according to Fox Business.

The lawsuit claims that Lazazzaro would not have purchased Hershey’s Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate, Lily’s Extra Dark Chocolate 70% Cocoa, and Lily’s Extreme Dark Chocolate 85% if he had known through a disclosure from the company that these products contained metals, Fox Business reported.

The lawsuit was filed two weeks after an article from Consumer Reports revealed the “dark side” of dark chocolate, testing 28 dark chocolate bars looking for lead and cadmium.

According to the report, every bar tested allegedly contained heavy metals, with 23 of the bars containing potentially harmful levels of lead, cadmium, or both for people who eat at least an ounce of chocolate daily. A standard-sized Hershey’s bar includes 1.55 ounces of chocolate.

The three bars mentioned in the lawsuit were also featured in the article, potentially changing the narrative that dark chocolate is a healthier alternative. According to Consumer Reports, a recent study by the National Confectioners Association says that 50% of respondents believed that dark chocolate was healthy.

“While most people don’t eat chocolate every day, 15 percent do, according to the market research firm Mintel. Even if you aren’t a frequent consumer of chocolate, lead and cadmium can still be a concern,” wrote Kevin Loria of Consumer Reports.

Lazazzaro is seeking at least $5 million in damages through a potential class action lawsuit, including at least $500 per transaction, which is allowed under New York law.

Following the Consumer Report study, The National Confectioners Association released a statement saying that the amount of metal found in dark chocolate is safe for consumers.

The organization said the levels Consumer Reports found during its testing are still under the approved safety levels under California Proposition 65. The proposition requires companies to add warnings to labels if chemical levels are potentially harmful.

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