Dark side of dark chocolate: Researchers find toxic metals in tested bars

Chocolates and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand. In fact, 58 million pounds of chocolate are purchased in the seven days leading up to Feb. 14. Candystore.com says that 43% of Americans buy themselves a box to celebrate the most romantic day of the year. But this year, there comes a warning with your sweet treat.

From cherries to caramel, to nuts, to nougat, everyone has a favorite chocolate treat. Now, researchers have found something none of us thought we were getting: toxic metals in every single dark chocolate bar they tested.

Testing by Consumer Reports scientists revealed 28 bars made by popular brands, including Hershey’s and Lindt, tested positive for lead and cadmium. Too much of the heavy metals have been linked to lung issues, memory problems and cancer.

RELATED: Consumer Reports investigates: Heavy metals in chocolate

For 23 of the bars, the Consumer Reports researchers said that eating just an ounce a day would put an adult over a level that public health authorities say may be harmful. Five of the chocolates tested were above those levels for both cadmium and lead.

But this doesn’t mean you have to give up dark chocolate altogether. The report also found safer choices to be Mast, Taza, Ghirardelli and Valrhona.

There is no national limit on lead and cadmium in chocolate bars set by the Food and Drug Administration. Also, don’t assume organic dark chocolates are safer. In the Consumer Reports tests, they were just as likely as other products to have concerning levels of heavy metals.