Over the Christmas holidays, my husband and I were in a mall, and lingered into a Godiva store. We were at the register ready to make a small purchase. Since we are lacto-vegetarian, just to be on the safe side, I thought I better ask if the pieces we were getting contained eggs. Obviously she had never been asked this question. She called over another employee. He appeared to be the manager. He assumed we had an egg allergy, and was pretty insistent that we not buy anything since eggs, even though not in what we were buying, were used in the factory that processed the chocolate. I simply said that we were not allergic, but were vegetarian and didn’t want to consume eggs. For some reason he became more insistent that we not buy the product. There was a definite attitude I will attribute to holiday stress. We sort of looked on stunned. We just walked out.
I have consumed so much chocolate during my lifetime. I believe greatly in signs or synchronicities. Right after this incident I stumbled across a link a friend posted: “The Dark Side of Chocolate.” http://www.cultureunplugged.com/play/4809/The-Dark-Side-of-Chocolate
It is about child slave labor on cocoa plantations.
I googled to find out exactly what chocolate was tainted with child slave labor, and found that Godiva was among them, as well as Hershey’s and M&M Mars. I refer you to this article: http://www.johnrobbins.info/blog/is-there-slavery-in-your-chocolate/ posted in April of 2010.
The following is excerpt is from the above article:
“M&M Mars and Hershey Foods Corp. are not alone. Other companies whose chocolate is almost certainly tainted with child slavery include: ADM Cocoa, Ben & Jerry’s, Cadbury Ltd., Chocolates by Bernard Callebaut, Fowler’s Chocolate, Godiva, Guittard Chocolate Company, Kraft, Nestle, See’s Candies, The Chocolate Vault, and Toblerone. While most of these companies have issued condemnations of slavery, and expressed a great deal of moral outrage that it exists in the industry, they each have acknowledged that they use Ivory Coast cocoa and so have no grounds to ensure consumers that their products are slavery-free.”
The article went on to state which chocolates were safe from child slave labor:
“There are in fact many chocolate companies who according to company correspondence use cocoa that has definitively not been produced with slave labor. These companies include Clif Bar, Cloud Nine, Dagoba Organic Chocolate, Denman Island Chocolate, Gardners Candies, Green and Black’s, Kailua Candy Company, Koppers Chocolate, L.A. Burdick Chocolates, Montezuma’s Chocolates, Newman’s Own Organics, Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company, Rapunzel Pure Organics, and The Endangered Species Chocolate Company.
At present, no organic cocoa beans are coming from Ivory Coast; so organic chocolate is unlikely to be tainted by slavery. Newman’s Own Organics is one of the largest of the slavery-free companies. The company’s chocolate is purchased through the Organic Commodity Project in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It comes from Costa Rica where the farms are closely monitored.”
Chocolate is just the tip of the iceberg as far as our product consumption responsibility goes. I’m reminded of the movie “Logan’s Run.” We go through life with blinders on, ignorant of situations. The saying goes that ignorance is bliss. Our teacher, a Himalayan monk, says that rather “innocence is bliss, and that ignorance can get you into trouble.”
If we are to reach a new enlightenment as some suggest is coming in 2012, we can’t claim to be innocent bystanders any longer. In our consumer-based globe, we as consumers bear the responsibility. As Gandhi said, “Be the change that you want to see.”
I am thankful for the people who bravely bring our shortcomings as seen in this documentary and this article to our attention, and to the friend who posted the link. I don’t mean to write this in a preachy or condemning way. I am discovering step by step myself in learning to live more responsibly. From what I remember in the teachings of a “Course in Miracles,” we talk about what we are in the process of learning ourselves. I do believe that life on this planet is one massive school, a virtual laboratory of learning.
From the movie “Forrest Gump:” My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” So beware.