Stores Call on Hershey to Commit to Ethically-Sourced Cocoa

WholeFoods Magazine Staff
WholeFoods Magazine

Hershey, PA—A coalition of independent natural food stores and co-ops, along with several human rights and consumer groups, has sent an open letter to The Hershey Company, urging it to make a substantially larger commitment to relying upon ethically-sourced, Fair Trade cocoa for its chocolate products. The letter comes in the context of reports that illegal and often forced child labor is a major issue with overseas cocoa production.

According to the letter, signed at press time by 65 stores such as Seattle-based PCC Natural Markets and organized by groups including Green America and the International Labor Rights Forum, the U.S. State Department has estimated that over 109,000 children work in the cocoa industry of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). 10,000 of these children, by the same estimate, are victims of human trafficking and slavery.

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