by Marianne Perez – TRANSCEND Media Service

With a product as good as chocolate, it’s hard to imagine that it can have a part in modern day slavery. But the good news is that there is an industry-wide response to tackle the issue.

With over 58 million pounds (26 million kilograms) of chocolate consumed each year during Valentine’s week, about 5% of the annual total consumption, this is the time to think about where your chocolate comes from… and at what price. The main ingredients in chocolate are cocoa butter and cocoa powder are both derived from cocoa beans. While we tend to think of chocolate coming from the northern hemisphere (luxury chocolates from Switzerland and Austria while the industrial chocolate powerhouses are in the US, France and Belgium), the raw materials come from countries close to the equator. Ivory Coast produces 70% of the world’s cocoa beans. Unfortunately, in Ivory Coast and in other cocoa producing countries, much of the cacao is harvested by slave labor, including children, who work up to 16 hours a day for no pay.

Read the full story at TRANSCEND Media Service.