On Thursdays, I post from the vault. This is from October 2014

Did you know that most commercial chocolate companies are relying on child labor to source their cocoa? The low-down is here
. . . but in a nutshell a BBC documentary revealed that child labor and
even child trafficking is rampant in chocolate production, and that
chocolate from most mainstream candy companies can be traced back to
farms employing (and even buying) children to work in dangerous
conditions.

For
our family, the response to learning this has been to limit our
chocolate purchases to fair-trade chocolate. Buying fair-trade is the
best way to ensure that chocolate has been ethically sourced, and it
also sends a message to mainstream chocolate companies that there is
consumer demand for Fair Trade Certified chocolate (which is ultimately
what will lead to change). Buying organic is reportedly another way to
ensure that your chocolate wasn’t produced by exploited children due to
the checks on labor practices organic certification requires.
Additionally, organic producers often receive higher payment for their
goods than those who don’t use organic methods.

The best sources I’ve seen for a variety of socially conscious Halloween shoppers are the Global Exchange Fair Trade Store and the Natural Candy Shop.
But since Halloween is just around the corner, here are some ideas for
things you might be able to find at local stores, or that you could
purchase from Amazon with 2-day shipping. Also, if you are lucky enough
to live near a Trader Joe’s, they have a great selection of organic and
fair-trade chocolate.

Yummy Earth makes lollipops and
other candies that are gluten-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, and
contain no type of corn syrup. A huge 5-pound bag of lollipops is under $30 and available for 2-day shipping on Amazon.

These
minty chocolate squares are what we’re handing out this year (that is,
if I can stop eating them first.) Made of fair-trade chocolate, a large box is available on Amazon with 2-day Prime shipping.

Yummy
Earth makes great organic candies including Sour Beans, Fruit Snacks,
and Gummy Worms. (We are passing out the sour beans this year and they
are SO good.) They are all natural; gluten-free; egg-free; soy-free;
nut-free; peanut-free; casein-free, with no artificial dyes. A large bag of mini treats is only $16.99 on Amazon, available with 2-day shipping.

Endangered
Species Organic Dark Chocolate Bug Bites come in a 64-count box
perfect for Halloween treats. These .35oz. pieces are made with
organic-certified, shade-grown, ethically traded dark chocolate with 70%
cocoa content. They can be ordered from Amazon using Prime 2-day shipping, or purchased at most local health food stores.

Clif’s organic Z-Bars for kids are a great healthier alternative to candy bars. They are available in most grocery stores, or on Amazon with 2-day Prime shipping.

Fruitabu
has one serving of all-natural fruit per roll, made exclusively with
real fruit puree and no added sugar, artificial flavors, preservatives,
or colors. They can be purchased at most grocery stores or fromAmazon with 2-day Prime shipping.

Funky Monkey is made of freeze-fried fruit and is available at most local health food stores. They can also be ordered with 2-day Prime shipping from Amazon.com.

Justin’s
peanut butter cups taste like the mainstream ones you know and love,
but are made with ethical chocolate and available at most local health
food stores or from Amazon.com.

If
you aren’t ready to take the plunge with fair-trade or organic
chocolate, you can always stick with mainstream candy without chocolate,
like Mike and Ike’s or Hot Tamales. These are available at most grocery
stores or on Amazon with 2-day Prime shipping.

These balls of fair trade chocolate are wrapped in foil depicting the earth. A 1lb. bag of Earth Balls can beordered from Amazon with 2-day shipping.

Sjaak’s
Halloween orange bites have dark chocolate around a delicious orange
interior. These cute little bites come individually wrapped and in a tub
with about 93 pieces perfect for Trick or Treaters. They can be
purchased for $33 from the Sjaak’s website.

Stretch Island Fruit Leather is made of real, organic fruit. A variety pack is only $18 for a 48-pack on Amazon.com (with 2-day Prime shipping.)

I
do realize that fair-trade candy is quite a bit more expensive than the
mainstream alternative. But again, I think we have to keep in mind — would we pay less for a product if a child was being abused to make it right in front of us? We’ve got to hold to the same standards for the treatment of children, no matter where they live.