Opinion: Getting testy over dark chocolate


My wife read some troubling information in one of her monthly magazines. You might think the source of this bad news was Prevention, where every page is full of things you should not be full of, like red meat, trans fats, cakes and pies. Next thing you know they’ll be telling us to lay off cheese. Or did I miss that issue?

No, this time the messenger was Consumer Reports. As a result of our subscription, over the years we learned we purchased a lemon of a car, an energy inefficient freezer, unsafe snow tires and a dangerous snowblower.

At the back of the magazine, they list what items they are presently testing in their labs. So, there’s a good chance we also bought the wrong toaster, mattress and insect repellants. Last month, they were rating blood pressure monitors, which I really need when reading one of their reports.

We’ve learned that we wasted lots of money buying useless vitamins and organic food options. I have trouble sleeping at night because CR rated my pillow choice very low — lower even than MyPillow. I bought a MyPillow years ago, but I returned it. I emailed the owner and told him that sleeping with my head on his product made me lean to the left.

So, what did CR report on that upset my wife? Mary Ellen is a chocolate lover, and the darker, the better. Well, things could not have gotten any darker than last week when the new CR landed in our mailbox, just minutes before she tossed it in our recycle bin. Here’s the feature article’s headline:

Some Trader Joe’s dark chocolate has dangerous levels of lead and cadmium

Say it ain’t so, Joe! That’s where Mary Ellen gets most of her chocolate. She will also occasionally pick up nonessentials like eggs, milk, bread, fresh fruits and vegetables.

For years, my wife’s consumption of chocolate was encouraged by reports that chocolate was good for us — especially the dark variety, which is full of antioxidants. True, it contains some caffeine, but if you can’t sleep, what better way to stay awake than scarfing down a candy bar?

CR tested dark chocolate bars at Trader Joe’s. For some bars, eating just an ounce a day puts someone over a level that CR’s experts say may be harmful. Well, there goes Halloween. Scary, huh?

Mary Ellen wanted to know whether the CR folks had to taste the candy, and if so, were there any openings available for those jobs?

My wife is health conscious and will cut down on her chocolate consumption. She asked if I’d be willing to make some similar sacrifices, based on past CR reports. I’m proud to announce that the vitamin pill I took  last Tuesday was the last I will ever take.