Do your chocolate products and cocoa powders contain heavy metals such as cadmium and lead?

Cadmium and lead are found in chocolate at trace levels, most often due to uptake from the soil on cacao farms through natural processes. Cadmium and lead are naturally occurring elements that can also be found naturally in many foods such as potatoes, grains, rice, leafy greens and more.

As Health Canada offers little to no guidance for maximum safe levels of cadmium or lead present in the food we regularly consume, we looked for other international reference points to guide us and establish safe target limits. We found sound and credible reference points in the European Food Safety Commission, the US Food Safety System and the Codex Alimentarius limits.

In 2016, we put in place with our suppliers a heavy metal control plan based on what we have learned. Our suppliers monitor the level of heavy metals for every lot of cocoa beans that enter into the production of our chocolate and cocoa products. Once the beans are transformed into cocoa liquors or cocoa powders, the semi-finished products are once more tested. Moreover, our co-op has been conducting semi-annual lab testing on our highest cocoa-content products.

The limits we have set for ourselves vary per type of product. For our chocolate chips, baking bars and cocoa powders, these limits are maximum. 0.96 ppm for cadmium and 0.225 ppm for lead. For our chocolate bars and our hot chocolates, these limits are maximum. 0.8 ppm for cadmium and 0.15 ppm for lead.

All the test results we have conducted so far remain well below those limits, with the latest tested batch of products showing:

Product categoryLatest resultsLimits ppmLatest resultsLimits ppm
Baking Chocolate
& Chocolate chips
Hot chocolate0.4030.80.090.1
Cocoa powder0.6170.960.070.225
Chocolate Bar0.1910.80.050.15
La Siembra’s heavy metal control program

The audits and monitoring of heavy metals and all our testing for priority allergens are regularly reviewed by CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency). No recommendations, non-compliances or recalls have been imposed on those products at any time. As such, we feel confident in the safety of our Camino products.

For further information, please read our news release.