Antidote Blog: Best Dark Chocolate

Consumer Reports – “Lead & Cadmium in Chocolate” – A Hyperbole

By Red Thalhammer

Lead and Cadmium in Chocolate

“Lead and Cadmium Could Be in Your Dark Chocolate” -CR

Sounds Scary! Until you look at the Data. “Should I be worried?”

No. Now let’s dive into, “Why?”

Where is this coming from? 

CR: A Recipe for Chocolate Consumer Panic

In December 2022, Consumer Reports (CR) published an article indicating 28 chocolate bars were tested, and many had “high” levels of cadmium and/or lead.

Some points to know, which will be covered in further detail below:

  • CR is using California’s maximum allowable dose levels (MADL) as their baseline
    • They do not explain this threshold, nor is this level based in science
  • CR only focuses on chocolate
    • There is no context of how other foods are common sources of dietary cadmium uptake
  • CR does not cover how the human body removes toxic elements from your system
    • Nor do they mention how chocolate supports these mechanisms

CR neglects to include any “big picture” relative view – merely chocolate + cadmium & lead. Plus, we need to interpret these results with data & science:


CR uses California’s maximum allowable dose levels (MADL) as their baseline for lead & cadmium uptake. The levels are 0.5mg & 4.1mg daily, respectively. Now, these seem like rock-solid figures that we need to keep an eye on, right?

Wrong. Enter, “NOEL.”

NOEL is the no-observed-effect level of a test substance by the safety factor. NOEL is the highest dose level that results in no observable reproductive effect and is scientifically established with science and lab tests.

MADL is arbitrarily set 1000x lower than NOEL. MADL and the 1000x reduction is a ‘public policy decision’ and guideline, not a scientific one.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) studied cadmium uptake, which resulted in the findings which found the average dietary intake of cadmium in the US is 4.6 micrograms per day – this works out to be 112% of MADL – thus, this should not be the baseline figure that CR uses for the baseline in their reports.

MADL is also quite a bit lower than legal thresholds placed on food manufacturers (via Prop 65 in California & EU Regulations) as there are no federal regulations on this.

If you even look deeper into Prop 65, the thresholds have actually been increased over time, as the thresholds were initially set arbitrarily – yet this is still the “baseline” used.


The segments in both the news and online appear to be maliciously targeting dark chocolate – but nothing is mentioned in the report regarding how the overarching food system as a whole faces this problem.

NIH posted an article “Dietary Cadmium Intake and Sources in the US” which does not solely target chocolate but discussed the food industry as a whole. “The food groups that contributed most to [cadmium] intake were cereals and bread (34%), leafy vegetables (20%), potatoes (11%), legumes and nuts (7%), and stem/root vegetables (6%). The foods that contributed most to total Cd intake were lettuce (14%), spaghetti (8%), bread (7%), and potatoes (6%)”

But this article specifically targets chocolate – we cannot speak specifically as to why, however we can speculate: Chocolate is a beloved product with a passionate following that will certainly generate more “buzz” on the topic than the other items listed above.

However, rest assured that chocolate continues to be a decadent, luxurious treat with known health benefits when enjoyed in moderation. Like all dietary decisions, learn the facts and decide what is best for you.

Chocolate can and should remain safely on your list of specialty foods for culinary and snacking enjoyment!


Now, we are not saying cadmium does not have an ill-effect in high doses.

The NIH states, “Due to the chronic nature of dietary Cd exposure, combined with the long half-life of Cd in the human body, Cd can accumulate in multiple tissue types, contributing to the development of cancer, kidney dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, reproductive dysfunction, diabetes, osteoporosis, and increased mortality.”

However, the human body would have to surpass NOEL-defined intake, of which MADL is 1000x less than, of which CR is basing their “report” on.

CR also fails to mention the human body’s natural cleansing agents to assist in the body expelling cadmium.

Zinc, Magnesium and Selenium are minerals of which help reduce the toxicity of cadmium in the human body, and these are substantially present in cocoa.

This report in no way should affect your perception of or your actual consumption of chocolate.

Closing Notes:

The NIH links in this post are the same which are used in the CR piece – but CR cherry-picked specific quotes which work for their anti-chocolate argument.

Why is CR using MADL as their baseline instead of NOEL? This is a good question – if they used NOEL in the report, all levels in their baseline would be 900x+ higher than what they used, and there would be no article to write, as all detected levels are 900x or less than the NOEL baseline.

If you multiply the levels of cadmium and lead in CR’s findings by 1,000x, the majority bars in the “report” are still below acceptable NOEL levels (which are levels that show no ill effects).

What does this translate to?

A consumer could [try to] eat 900x of any chocolate bar listed in the CR report, in one sitting, and still have no ill-effect from cadmium or lead (but you may feel sick afterwards from all the sugar!)

We even saw Prop 65 increase their MADL baseline levels in the past, as they are arbitrarily set, who is to say this won’t happen again?

NOEL is the baseline to actually use in analyzing findings, and there is no concern despite the “scare for sport” content being posted about chocolate.

To keep in mind: writing this, we are not food scientists, but the folks coming up with NOEL data are NIH and the FDA, who are food scientists (all sources linked below). The folks coming up with MADL take NOEL and divide it by 1,000, arbitrarily. 

Trust data – not agenda-driven report findings.

Written by: Rob Delaney

Worldwide Chocolate



Lead and Cadmium Could Be in Your Dark Chocolate – Consumer Reports

Dietary Cadmium Intake and Sources in the US – PMC (

Cadmium toxicity and treatment: An update – PMC (

Chocolate, “Food of the Gods”: History, Science, and Human Health – PMC (

The mysterious world of Prop 65, part 8: Acceptable risk levels | Consumer products law blog

Agency Review of Toxicology Information in Petitions for Direct Food Additives and Color Additives Used in Food –


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By Red Thalhammer


There is a lot of recent discussion on lead and cadmium in some chocolate brands that I wanted to address: A study from a consumer reports organization has tested mostly large and some small brands on cadmium and lead levels. Out of the 28 tested, 23 bars of chocolate — which were produced by the likes of Trader Joe’s, Tony’s, Pascha, Lily’s, Hu, Hershey’s, Godiva, and Lindt to name a few that had super high levels of either lead or cadmium. The smaller premium brands they tested were mostly ok. I’m glad to hear that buying premium quality proofs to be healthy in that regard as well. Antidote was not part of this test, but we do tests ourselves and generally refer to European Standards.

Do you wonder how cadmium and lead gets into chocolate? Cadmium is absorbed through the soil into the trees. All our fine aroma cacao is form Ecuador and luckily Ecuador has not had much problem with cadmium. 

Lead on the other hand is a post harvest issue, and can be prevented with proper and save handling practices. Knowing our farmers, their process and facility of their post-harvest practices, I can say with confidence that there is no issue for the cacao we use at Antidote. 

Please see below test results as for cadmium and lead. (Sorry, we only have them available in spanish).



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Luxurious Dark Chocolate Gift Bars: The Perfect Present for This Season!

By Red Thalhammer

Dark Chocolate Gift

Dark Chocolate Gift Bars - Antidote Chocolate

Dark chocolate bars to gift are the embodiment of delightful indulgence, an adventure in flavors, and a hit of bliss, making them the ideal present this holiday season! Whether you're hunting for hostess gifts, stocking stuffers, or seeking an exquisite after-dinner nibble, the opportunities to relish quality dark chocolate are endless!

In a world yearning for sweetness and solace, dark chocolate gift bars hit the sweet spot, offering both luxury and wellness. Here's why Antidote chocolate gifts will win your loved ones over:

Love is Dark Chocolate. No Exceptions.

Who can resist the lure of chocolate, especially when it's dark and presented with innovative flavor fusions? Dark chocolate has gained immense popularity, becoming a universal symbol of love, passion, and gourmet indulgence. It not only soothes our souls but also elevates our spirits, acting as a magical key to happiness due to the natural chemical compounds of cacao. Opt for true dark chocolate gift bars and ditch the mainstream sugary concoctions to experience elevated moods and positive vibes!

Gourmet Dark Chocolate: A Luxurious Yet Affordable Delight

Our innovative and artistic dark chocolate in beautiful presentation lend themselves naturally as gift bars and versatile delights that are suitable for every celebration. Each bar tells a story and can easily be matched with the characteristics of the person to receive. By gifting exquisite superfood chocolate you showcase your impeccable taste and consideration for your loved ones' well-being. Gift the luxury of sophisticated chocolate and innovative flavor fusions and earn a cherished place in their hearts for discovering a beautiful delight.

Dark Chocolate Bars: A Symphony of Nutrients and Flavors!

Antidote's Dark Chocolate Gift Bars are a treasure trove of nutrients, brimming with wholesome ingredients and rich cacao, yet low in sugar. These bars are not just mood enhancers but also packed with flavanols that combat premature aging. A piece of our dark chocolate, crafted with meticulous care, offers more antioxidants than a handful of blueberries! Gift bars with a minimum of 70% cacao content and go as high as you like. Due to the quality of cacao our bars will never be bitter as they are made with the prized Nacional Complex cacao within Direct Trade relationships that also pays farmers double of Fair Trade. Always premium and partially organic ingredients.

Immaculate Presentation with Gourmet Dark Chocolate

Choose from fifteen exclusive flavors to find the perfect one for every individual on your gift list! Based on story, color or message on the bar. Our meticulously designed packaging eliminates the need for additional wrapping, making each bar a ready-to-gift piece of beauty. Select bars topped with real fruits, pieces, spices, and various exciting flavor fusions based on individual preferences. Whether they love milk chocolate, are fans of almonds, coffee, ginger, or strawberries, we've got you covered!

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Is Dark Chocolate Good For You?

By Red Thalhammer

Is Dark Chocolate Good

Not all dark chocolate is made equal. The Essence of Antidote chocolate is a remedy or chocolate pill for every obstacle. Maybe you’re having a stress-filled week or just need to take a minute to relax. Or perhaps you just need something to lift your spirits! We’ve got the Antidote! After all, it is a very versatile remedy! Honest and sincere, it is a powerhouse for many situations!

Heart Blues? 

A few Squares lift your spirits! With the high cacao content and minimal processing we maximize the potency of antioxidants to create an exquisite mood booster.


Pop a choco pill to find balance. When you feel stress building up, dark chocolate can be a delightful equalizer! Cacao beans contain polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant that reduces the levels of stress hormones in your body. Sink your teeth into a bit or two.

Getting Fit? 

Two pieces conquer your appetite. Did you know the right kind of dark chocolate can actually HELP you get fit? The bitter elements of dark chocolate reduces hunger cravings and satiates your appetite while gratifying deeply. This way, dark chocolate is not the problem to your fitness goals... it’s the solution! 


A square to awaken your senses. Whether or not we have a long work day, sometimes our energy levels are suffering – dark chocolate to the rescue! Higher intake of quality dark chocolate enables improvements in our memories, visualization, and cognitive functions! Plus the theobromine in dark chocolate will pull you through your afternoon slump!

Want a Power Shot? 

Flip a pill into it! Are you sneaking chocolate into your espresso?! We are!  Not only does coffee and the rich notes of dark chocolate pair well together, but also the nourishing properties of the chocolate will give you a morning boost of antioxidants!  Cacao is filled with antioxidants and has antidepressant effects as does coffee. A Power pair!  Antidote Naked would be our choice.


One bar for the lunch hour you don’t have. Dark Chocolate is perfect to nourish and curb hunger when on the go. It's one of the most nutrient dense convenience foods!! If you pick the right chocolate of course! On top of that, cacao can decrease food cravings in the brain for up to 4 hours. A delicious treat + power-packed nutrients sounds like our kind-of lunch! 


Have Antidote at your side. We all feel it these days. That's why we have: Chocolate that loves you back. And indeed the PEA in cacao, or phenethylamine, is probably the strongest “love chemical” in chocolate. It triggers a massive endorphin release in the brain. These happy little endorphins will give you some love you deserve!

Seeking Pleasure? 

It’s an Aphrodisiac! For most, chocolate is a symbol for love but there's also some science to back up that chocolate is a libido enhancer! Two chemicals are responsible: One, tryptophan, a building block of serotonin and a brain chemical involved in sexual arousal. The other, phenylethylamine, a stimulant related to amphetamine, which is released in the brain when people fall in love. To top it off, it is ultra rich, silky, and decadent - who wouldn't have feelings of love when one little square holds all of that?!

Need Some Chi 

Take some choc! Smelling the rich aromas and taking the first flavor packed bite in a square of dark chocolate is enough to get your senses up and dancing! In case you never heard of CHI or QI, it's the energy of life itself, a balance of Yin and Yang, positive and negative, electromagnetic energy which flows through everything in creation ✌🏻 An Antidote to keep things flowing and going! 

Need an Antidote? 

We got you! Find sanity in the chaos with 15 exquisite options. Antidote will nourish you deeply on an emotional level while boosting your mood. Try it!! And if it doesn't give you "everything" you need - at least you have some delicious chocolate - Sometimes that's all the care we need!

why chocolate good you stress

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That's How We Do It.

By Red Thalhammer

That's How We Do It.

Recently from a customer: "How is this possible? We broke down and ordered a lot after tasting a couple bars. We hoped that the quality of the chocolate would persist over the range of truly expertly curated flavor suites. Absolutely the best thing we did. We now set the box on the table and revel in a new selection each evening, Barolo Chinato not far behind. Devotees now" - Warren T.

We are all about flavor, so how do we do it? It's an act of creation that can stretch over years. Sometimes the beginning happens out of playing around with trial and error and other times s a flavor is popping up in a dream. In both cases, it's the beginning of a longer experiement to either find a vendor to produce that fruit the way we need it or to find the perfect aroma of a certain spice. Not all is created equal as we know. It took us years to find and fine tune each cacao flavor profile we use with the farmers. The same for our flavor ingredients. We can spend up to two years at times to create a flavor and to find the the perfect complementing flavor pairing. Using real chunks of fruits and spices – from coffee to mango and juniper berries. Choosing ingredients with precision and working closely with our Ecuadorian partners to perfect every stage of our ingredients preparation and production process. We never use essential oils as we believe real ingredients will add more depth and giving that sublime edge. That is how we innovate.

While others look at us and copy our flavors – we take it as a compliment 😉 – we prefer to explore and create, become inspired by different cultures, talking flavors with friends and play. That is where true creation lives. Using unique combinations and ingredients such as lavender & red salt, fennel seeds, and juniper for almost 10 years now in our dark chocolate bars. That and spending nearly 10 years of refining and improving each bar and flavor pairing. The art of creation! We take pride in it!

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