posh chocolat

This barrage of chocolate-related posts is me capitalizing on the increased traffic I’m getting because of Valentine’s Day searches. By Tuesday of next week, Crunchy & Chic will go back to it’s regularly scheduled programming. In the meantime, enjoy this post from the San Antonio Current:

Valentine’s Day is the chocolate industry’s holiday season. With an eye toward this February’s annual love-fest, the International Labor Rights Forum purchased an advertising slot on a jumbotron outside the Super Bowl’s Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on which to broadcast a video called Hershey’s Chocolate, Kissed by Child Labor.

Africa produces 70 percent of the world’s cocoa — much of it with the region’s infamously cheap labor. “In West Africa, where Hershey’s sources much of its cocoa, over 200,000 children are forced to harvest cocoa beans every year,” said Judy Gearhart, executive director of the International Labor Rights Forum, via a press release.

On the day the Super Bowl ad was announced, Hershey’s released a statement detailing steps it would take toward improving labor and sustainability practices, including a $10 million investment in its West African suppliers. That was enough to buy the company a temporary reprieve from the ILRF.

“Hershey’s pledged to take the first step to address rampant forced and child labor in its supply chain,” said Sean Rudolph, ILRF’s campaigns director, “so we decided to pull the ad as a gesture of good faith.”

The scuffle highlights the dark side of a food that, like love, can be bitter or sweet. In addition to labor issues, chocolate plantations can be responsible for deforestation, when growers raze rainforest to plant more cocoa trees.

But chocolate production can also be empowering to farmers and relatively healthy for the environment.

Read more at Hershey’s, West African child labor, and the promise of Brazil’s ‘cabruca’ system – Food – San Antonio Current.

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