Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Welcome back Saul - Nice to hear from you again!


... this [concern about heavy metals in chocolate products] is probably reduced if the plant residue (in this case, all of the cocoa bean except for the cocoa powder) is removed.


From the research I've seen, the heavy metals are most concentrated in the cocoa powder - much more so than the chocolate liquor, which includes the fat.


[My] urine Hg, Pb, etc. were vanishingly low.


Great to hear. That must have been somewhat of a relief - given you high fish intake.


BUT --- surprise! --- urinary Arsenic was high normal! ... Neither Dr. Taylor (my nephrologist) nor I have any idea why.


Did you ask you wife about it?  :)xyz


Seriously, it could be the salmon, although this paper [1] seems to suggest the arsenic in salmon and other seafood is not really a significant risk:


 Organic arsenic compounds such as
arsenobetaine and arsenocholine seem not to be converted to
inorganic arsenic in vivo and not genotoxic in mammalian cells in
vitro. Therefore, arsenobetaine and arsenocholine from fish and
sea food consumption is not considered to represent a significant
health risk.

Does the urinary arsenic test assess the form of the arsenic (i.e. organic vs. inorganic)?





[1] International Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences IJBAS-IJENS Vol:10 No:05 4

 103205-6565 IJBAS-IJENS © October 2010
The Presence of Arsenic as Heavy Metal Contaminant on Salmon : a Risk Assessment
Titik Budiati
Food Technology Division , School of Industrial Technology, Universiti Sains Malaysia,
Penang, Malaysia
Abstract-- Salmon is a kind of fish which has good nutrition for
human but it can be contaminated by heavy metal such as
arsenic. In risk assessment , the provisional tolerable weekly
intake (PTWI) for inorganic arsenic is 15 μg/kg b.w./week and
the organic forms of arsenic present in sea foods need different
consideration from the inorganic arsenic in water. There are no
reports of toxicity in man or animals from the consumption of
organoarsenicals in seafood. Organic arsenic compounds such as
arsenobetaine and arsenocholine seem not to be converted to
inorganic arsenic in vivo and not genotoxic in mammalian cells in
vitro. Therefore, arsenobetaine and arsenocholine from fish and
sea food consumption is not considered to represent a significant
health risk.
Index Term-- Salmon, arsenic, risk assessment.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 69
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

The result was interesting:  Urine Hg, Pb, etc. were vanishingly low.  BUT --- surprise! --- urinary Arsenic was high normal!  (The figure was well within the acceptable range -- but higher than the 50'th percentile).  Neither Dr. Taylor (my nephrologist) nor I have any idea why.




  -- Saul


Do you eat rice or rice-derived products? There have been some concerns raised about arsenic levels in rice, e.g.:


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...
  • 5 months later...

Nice find Sibiriak!


Tea, thank you for your input - with your user name are from the industry?


That would be unfortunate. Do you have any references or sources for us to look into heavy metal and flavonoid levels from steeping cacao shells or corresponding teas? It would be great if we could check/verify levels. Personally, I would accept half the polyphenols exchange for a quarter the heavy metals ( and can double up on dose), but it sounds like you are confident regarding the heavy metal levels.

not in the tea industry unfortunately, just enjoy sencha.


This is mainly speculation based on personal experience with cacao and cacao shell tea. As far as i know, the heavy metals and contaminants cacao accumulates come primarily from the soil, so there may not be much of a difference between the heavy metal concentration of the shells vs bean. But cocoa shell does appear to have significant biosorption potential, so it is not unreasonable to assume that it could be some kind of a bioaccumulator of heavy metals.


Because the shells are a waste/byproduct product there is a good chance whatever company is selling them as tea is buying this in massive quantities for cheap, probably coming from farms of questionable agricultural practices, and maybe more likely to be contaminated during processing/storage since it is byproduct.


Having tasted cacao husk tea in Mexico before, it is very mild tasting - i can't imagine there is a high concentration of water soluble flavanoids. No doubt there is some antioxidant activity, but at least according to this study, "Methanol proved to be the best solvent in extracting antioxidants from cocoa by-products" so tea is obviously not the best way to absorption whatever amount of flavanoids there are. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...


could we please make a list of the un-alkalized, cadmium-poor cocoa powders available, with price?


So far I know, as cited in other threads:


  • Trader's Joe
  • Hershey's

But I'm not sure they are not alkalized and Trader's does not deliver to Italy. The requisite of being un-alkalized (undutched) grants about three times the epicatechins than in dutched cacao. I too am interested in Sibiriak's cold-pressed raw cacao powder or similar, although some of'em are prett costly for the large quantities I consume.


Of course the raw varieties are even better.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I buy supplements etc. from iHerb, as they have free, fast and reliable shipping to Russia.  


As I wrote, I decided to try out some organic cacao powder, and I selected this product based on description and reviews  without looking for info about cadmium levels:




The claim is that the cold-processing preserves valuable phytochemical content,  but I don't know how valid that is.  Many flavonoids can withstand considerable heat processing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Sibiriak, I'm doing the same here, selecting the brands which deliver to Italy and have good reviews, the one below so far looking a pretty favourable one with a good price. No cadmium values declared.

There is an article on processing temperatures, as far as I can remember there is some significant difference from cold-processed to intermediate and high temperatures, also the original cacao variety influences epicatechins concentrations.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Rare victory for rainforests as nations vow to stop 'death by chocolate'




In an investigation published in September, the Guardian found that deforestation-linked cocoa had entered the supply chains of some of the biggest players in the chocolate industry. At the same time, the environmental group Mighty Earth published Chocolate’s Dark Secret, a report that found that “a large amount of the cocoa used in chocolate produced by Mars, Nestle, Hershey’s, Godiva, and other major chocolate companies was grown illegally.”


Corrupt Ivorian officials whose job it was to protect the country’s national parks and classified forests were accepting huge bribes to allow small-scale farmers to cut them down and grow cocoa.


This cocoa was then bought by middlemen who sold it on to large cocoa traders including Barry Callebaut and Cargill, companies which sell to Mars, Cadbury and Nestlé.

Edited by Sibiriak
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...
On 12/12/2015 at 12:16 AM, Dean Pomerleau said:

For anyone interested, here is the link to Wilderness Family Naturals (WFN) web store page for their raw, non-fermented cacao powder, which includes heavy metal test results. Here are the results, which are quite recent, and they should be commended for testing and for posting the test results:  Raw Cacao Laboratory Testing Results  *ppm = parts per million

Non-Fermented Raw Cacao Powder (2 different suppliers)

Arsenic   0.049 ppm
Cadmium   0.704 ppm
Lead   0.288 ppm
Mercury   <0.02 ppm

Arsenic   0.037 ppm
Cadmium   0.674 ppm
Lead   0.154 ppm
Mercury   <0.01 ppm

So Cadmium in WFN raw cacao powder is about 0.7 ppm, which is equivalent to 0.7 mcg/g (micrograms cadmium per gram of cacao powder). The US regulatory "Maximum Allowable Daily Level" (MADL) for oral cadmium is 4.1 mcg/day. That works out to about 6g of WFN cacao powder - almost exactly a teaspoon.


Btw, the current but out-of-date info at the WFN site shows an increase in cadmium content in their non-fermented cacao powder:

      Arsenic <0.048 ppm
      Cadmium 0.924 ppm
      Lead 0.111 ppm
      Mercury <0.02 ppm

I've happened to notice increases in cadmium levels in several other  cacao products I've been using or considering using.

(On the safe upper limit for cadmium intake,  see Dean's further remarks here.)


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...