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Better Choices

Another Reason to Eat Organic — Child Labor and Sustainability Issues with Many Conventional Chocolate Brands

For many of us when we eat a piece of chocolate, our biggest concern is how many grams of sugar we are consuming.

Yet, how often do we ask ourselves — was this chocolate bar made with the help of child labor? Or, was the cocoa produced in a way that resulted in deforestation to the environment?

The truth about cocoa – the main ingredient in chocolate – is quite grim.

According to the US Department of Labor, more than 2 million children in Ghana and the Ivory Coast work in hazardous conditions growing cocoa. And while some companies have begun tracing their supply chains to prevent child labor, the vast majority of the 3 million tons of cocoa produced each year come from small farms in West Africa, where farmers and their children live on less than $1 per day.

Additionally, in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, 90% of their forests have been lost, and much of that deforestation was caused by the largest cocoa companies.

To help consumers understand which chocolate companies are sourcing in an ethical, environmentally-responsible way and which ones are not, Green America has unveiled its latest version of its Chocolate Scorecard.

Not surprisingly, the organic brands came out on top (almost all of them received A scores) while the largest conventional brands received C, D and F grades on the Chocolate Scorecard.

What is important to note is that aside from the USDA organic seal, there are many other certifications widely used in chocolate, such as Fairtrade, Fair Trade Certified and Rainforest Alliance.

According to Green America, however, certification programs alone are not enough to solve the underlying issues that contribute to child labor in cocoa, including farmer poverty and a lack of infrastructure. As such, the scorecard looks beyond commitments about certified chocolate to identify programs that support farmers and address child labor when it is found.

Furthermore, chocolate bars that are not certified organic may use toxic pesticides or fungicides, which not only harm the health of consumers but that of farmers as well.

So, the next time you buy a chocolate bar, remember that you aren’t just giving yourself an indulgence.

You are making a statement about what kind of company you want to financially support.

ORGANIC BRANDS THAT RECEIVED VERY HIGH SCORES ON THE CHOCOLATE SCORECARD 

Alter Eco

Equal Exchange

Shaman

Theo Chocolate

Guittard

A message from E3Live

"My Everyday, Must-Have Green Organic Aquabotanical"

The best testimonial that I can give is that I drink this every single day, as it impacts my mood in an incredibly positive way.

E3Live + BrainON is certified organic, fresh-frozen AFA (Aphanizomenon flos-aquae) with a concentrated, aqueous, organic extract of Phenylethylamine and Phycocyanin.

Learn more.

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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Another Reason to Support Organic – The 59 Pesticide Residues Found in Our Water Supply

When people talk about organic food, we mostly focus on the importance of eating food that is free of synthetic chemicals, genetically-modified ingredients and artificial growth hormones.

Yet, what we also need to be mentioning is that conventionally-grown food means that our soil is getting sprayed with an astronomical amount of toxic pesticides, which ends up polluting our public water supply.

According to the EPA, we use about 1.1 billion pounds of chemicals per year, 80% of which are used for agricultural purposes.

And what impact has this had on the quality of our public water supply?

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A message from Tradin Organic

How Tradin Organic is Helping Coconut Farmers in The Philippines

For more than a decade, Tradin Organic has been working with local partners in The Philippines to bring a diversified range of organic products to the market, such as coconut oil, tropical fruits and even cocoa.

The company is helping to support local farmers by assisting them with technical support and organic certification, in addition to paying Fairtrade premium on top of the organic premium.

Learn more.

Living Maxwell

Better Choices

My Best Juicing Advice – Keep It Simple

Ever since I launched the Pressed Organic Juice Directory a few months ago, people have been constantly asking me what I drink for juice.

In terms of pressed organic juice, I prefer green juice in a glass bottle. However, sometimes glass is not available. And sometimes straight green juice is not available either. Usually, this means that a juice bar has added apple for sweetness.

Despite the fact that I have plenty of places to buy pressed organic juice in my neighborhood, I have not abandoned juicing at home.  And I never will.

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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Organic Wine — Does it Contain Sulfites?

In wine, there are naturally occurring sulfites and added sulfites. The naturally occurring sulfites are a by-product of the fermentation process and it is nearly impossible to have a sulfite-free wine.

Winemakers have been working with sulfite agents, added sulfites, for hundreds of years. They were originally introduced in Europe as a preservative and are used to prevent spoiling.

It is possible, however, to have a wine that is free of added sulfates and that is organic wine. The four main attributes of USDA certified organic wine are:

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livingmaxwell: a guide to organic food & drink