The Dark Side Of Consuming Tea, Coffee And Chocolate

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Slavery in the coffee industry, CC-BY-SA-3.0Only drink certified Fair-Trade coffee, CC-BY-SA-2.0Cochina beetles in tea production, CC-BY-SA-3.0Only drink organic tea, Public DomainCastoreum (beaver glands extract), CC-BY-SA-3.0
Slavery in the coffee industry, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Slavery in the coffee industry, CC-BY-SA-3.0 | Source
Only drink certified Fair-Trade coffee, CC-BY-SA-2.0
Only drink certified Fair-Trade coffee, CC-BY-SA-2.0 | Source
Cochina beetles in tea production, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Cochina beetles in tea production, CC-BY-SA-3.0 | Source
Only drink organic tea, Public Domain
Only drink organic tea, Public Domain | Source
Castoreum (beaver glands extract), CC-BY-SA-3.0
Castoreum (beaver glands extract), CC-BY-SA-3.0 | Source

The Dark Side of Chocolate

Tea, Coffee & Chocolate

The Truth...

It's entirely up to you whether you choose to drink tea or coffee and eat chocolate but there are some things you should know and consider about our most beloved beverages and delicacies...

... like, for example, the fact that if you buy and eat chocolate you could be supporting the slave trade (i.e. forced labour and child labour) and if you drink tea you could be consuming pesticides or even chemicals extracted from the glands of a beaver, located near it's anus!

And that's not all!

Read on to find out more...

The Truth About Chocolate...

The Chocolate Slave Trade

According to a U.S. government study conducted by Tulane University in 2011, over 1.8 million West African children are used in the cultivation of cocoa.

Also in 2011, the BBC aired their concerns over child labour in the production of chocolate when Humphrey Hawksley claimed it was commonplace to see "children carrying machetes or pesticide equipment".

Hawksley also claimed that it was just as commonplace to see children with scars on their legs from the machetes with no form of protective clothing and with no access whatsoever to any kind of first aid.

The cultivation of chocolate from cocoa can be quite hazardous and involves the mixing of chemicals and the use of pesticides, heavy loads of wet beans must be transported long distances often resulting in hernias amongst other physical injuries, with this skill set being considered standard for 15 to 17 year olds. Quite obviously, such work is much more hazardous to younger children.

The director of the Save the Children Fund reported seeing:

"young children carrying 6 kilograms (13 lb) of cocoa sacks so heavy that they have wounds all over their shoulders."

In 2002, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture claimed they had found 284,000 children working in hazardous conditions in West Africa. 64% of the children were under 14-years of age and 40% of them were female. The children worked 12-hour days, started at 6am and were given regular beatings.

In 2001, chocolate manufacturers promised to start eliminating forced child labour in reponse to pressure applied by US Congress and potential boycotts in both the UK and US.

Ferrero and Mars have both promised to end cocoa slavery by the year 2020.

Living With Fair-Trade Coffee

The Truth About Coffee...

The Coffee Slave Trade

In 2011 a report entitled "List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor" was released by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB).

The report showed that 130 products, produced by 71 different countries, are manufactured by child labour or forced labour.

The report lists both coffee and sugarcane as agricultural products which are produced by children.

According to the report, such activity is most prevalent in Colombia and Guatemala - the world's two biggest exporters of coffee.

It was also noted that coffee for Ivory Roast, who produce a large amount of Robusta coffee, has also been produced by child labour and forced labour.

Coffee growers earn less than 1% of the cost that consumers pay for a capaccino and about 6% of the amount paid for coffee at supermarkets.

According to Global Exchange, workers have no choice but to bring their children to work with them, in order to ensure they meet their quota, and plantation workers must pick a hundred pounds of coffee before they are entitled to the minimum wage of just $3 per day.

Image: Public Domain
Image: Public Domain | Source

Tea Pesticides & Additives

The Truth About tea...

Pesticides & Ingredients

In relation to tea production on the other hand, according to a study conducted by EuroFins, 91% of the teas which are manufactured and produced by Celestial Seasonings were found to contain levels of pesticides higher than legally allowable by US law.

It has also been discovered that other brands of tea, such as Tetley, Twinings, Lipton, Tazo and Mighty Leaf also contained high levels of pesticides.

Despite the fact that tea is heavily promoted for containing anti-oxidants and helping to protect against cancer-causing agents, it's evident that many teas are laced with carcinogens from the pesticides that have been used.

Perhaps also something to be concerned about is the fact that some teas may include additives such as Carmine (also known as Natural Red 4) which can be labelled as a "natural" flavouring.

However, despite being labelled as being "natural" and commonly being used as red food colouring, Carmine is made from crushed up cochina beetles!

Perhaps even more worrying again is the fact that some teas may contain Castoreum, a chemical which is extracted from glands located near a beaver's anus!

So, next time you sit down to help yourself to a fresh cup of tea or coffee or you buy a bar of chocolate from the shop, just remind yourself that you may be helping to support the slave trade or you could be consuming squashed beetles and maybe even drinking beaver's glands extracts!

© 2013 Sparkster Hubs

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Comments 2 comments

DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 2 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

Using that same logic, I would say "Some SE Asian kids make footballs under slave labor conditions, therefore all footballs are bad."

Most cocoa plantations in my area of Brazil are owned by former slaves. Most coffee plantations are mechanized and do not even use many adults, much less child labor.

Of course that does not make for good BBC pictures, so I guess they would not bother covering the other side of the story.

If you care about preserving the rain forest, continue eating chocolate.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida

There is fair trade coffee, chocolate, and tea. Fair trade mans it is produced with respect for human rights and the environment. Voted up and interesting.

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