Extraction of Raw Materials

Extraction of raw materials is where it all begins. In order for this craved Hershey Bar to become chocolate, it must go through many steps and processes. Lets┬ábegin with the cocoa pod. The cocoa pod comes from tropical evergreen cocoa trees, specifically the Theobroma Cacao. These types of trees are known to be in Central and South America and some parts of West Africa and Asia. These pods start off green, but then when they become ripe they’re orange. Once they’re orange, harvesters come to break the pod open with a machete, and lo and behold inside are the cocoa beans (“The World Atlas of Chocolate”).

The next process that takes place is fermenting process. The beans will be placed into a wooden crate covered with banana leaves and can be left to sit there for up to 7 days. This process is so the cocoa bean can be heated and that the seeds’ sugar can be turned to acid to break down the bitter taste of the cocoa and make it more sweet (“The Story of Chocolate”).

Finally, the cocoa beans are ready to be dried. Harvesters will put the beans on a sheet tray or pan and leave them in the sun for about a week. Once the beans are dried and weigh less than what they did before, they’re ready to be put into big sacks and sent to manufacturing companies. (“The Story of Chocolate”)

Although this may seem like an easy, harmless process, there are many negatives to the work conditions of these farmers/ harvesters. One of the biggest issues in the chocolate producing industry is child labor. Over the recent years, journalists and organizations have been discovering the increased child labor of cocoa in farms in Western Africa. Sadly, Hershey’s is one of the companies involved with these farms of Western Africa. Most of these children are living in poverty and even some are being trafficked from the most poorest countries to come work on farms. The crazy thing is, most of these children are 12-16 (and some even below 12) using chainsaws and machetes to cut down branches and clear forests. Not to mention they’re working intense hours from 6 a.m. to the evening, being exposed to weapons and harsh chemicals. So I ask, is all of this torture to these children worth a bar of chocolate, or hot fudge? I think not. It is possible to have slave-free chocolate (“Food Empowerment Project”).

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