Not long after a famous brand of instant noodles faced the “you have metal” accusation (yes, lead is a metal), another one of our favorite foods is facing the same allegation. Chocolates. Yes, chocolates are facing the brunt of the metal detector.
According to a study published in the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Journal, the pleasure-inducing food exposes children to heavy metal contamination. Not the emo-punk heavy metal, but the elemental metal.
The study labeled as the ‘Heavy metal content in various types of candies and their daily dietary intake by children’ has been together piloted by Parmila Devi, Vandana Bajala and VK Garg from Guru Jambheshwar University of Science of Technology, Hisar, Suman Mor from Panjab University and Dr Ravindra Khaiwal from the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER).
The researchers picked up a total of 69 candy and chocolate samples that were brought in from grocery shops located near different schools of Hisar district, Haryana.
The samples were analyzed for five types of contents – lead, cadmium, nickel, zinc, and copper – and were further allocated into three groups – sugar based (26), milk-based (21), and cocoa based (22).
The average strength of zinc, lead, nickel, and cadmium in the chocolates was found 2.52 ± 2.49, 2.0 ± 1.20, 0.84 ± 1.35, and 0.17 ± 0.22 µg/g, respectively. The study further clearly indicates that cocoa-based candies have a higher metal content than milk or sugar-based candies.
Conversely, the copper content, in most of the samples, was below the detection perimeter.
“The result indicates the concentrations of the studied metals were highest in the cocoa-based candies and chocolates followed by milk and sugar-based candies and chocolates. The highest concentration of lead was also observed in milk-based candies and chocolates, “the study concluded.
Dr Ravindra Khaiwal said, “The comparison of the current study with other studies around the globe showed that the heavy metal content in candies and chocolates is lower in India than reported elsewhere.
“However, to reduce the further dietary exposure of heavy metals through candies and chocolates, their content should be monitored regularly and particularly for lead as children are highly susceptible to its toxicity.”
Speaking of the reasons behind the alarming concentration of metals, Dr Khaiwal said, “It may be due to unsafe storage conditions or raw materials such as cocoa beans, cocoa solids, cocoa butter, etc. Utensils used during the preparation of candies and chocolates may also cause metal contamination.”
So even though these candies have shown a high level of metal in them, the authorities haven’t yet planned on pulling a Maggi on them But lets just learn from previous mistakes and start stocking up right away!