Chocolate is processed from cocoa pods. About two-thirds to three-quarters of the worlds cocoa comes from West Africa and since 2001, world attention has focused on Ghana and the Cote d’Ivoire as two cocoa producing countries that employ large numbers of child laborers to harvest cocoa. The chocolate industry is a $50-billion industry with billions of consumers. West African cocoa is sold to commodities brokers and mingled with cocoa from other sources. Despite the efforts of the chocolate industry, child labor advocates, and the West African governments, many chocolate products consumed in the U.S. and Europe are—or could be—the products of child labor.

U.S. DOL Proposes Revisions to List of Products Made from Forced or Indentured Child Labor

Initial Determination Proposing Revisions to the EO 13126 List

On December 15, 2010 the Department of Labor announced an initial determination proposing to update the EO 13126 list in accordance with the “Procedural Guidelines for the Maintenance of the List of Products Requiring Federal Contractor Certification as to Forced or Indentured Child Labor.” The initial determination proposes to add Hand-Woven Textiles from Ethiopia to the list. It also proposes to remove Charcoal from Brazil from the list where, preliminarily, the Department of Labor has reason to believe that the use of forced or indentured child labor has been significantly reduced if not eliminated. On December 16, 2010 DOL published a notice in the Federal Register officially requesting public comment on its initial determination for a period of 60 days. On December 23rd, 2010 DOL published a correction to the December 16th initial determination. DOL will consider all public comments prior to publishing a final determination updating the list of products, made in consultation and cooperation with the Departments of State and Homeland Security. Until publication of the final determination, the current July 20, 2010 list remains valid. [Continue to see the list].

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Australian Snack Company Agrees to Source “Ethical” Cocoa

Arnott’s ensure Tim Tams are free from child labour
[source: AFN Thought for Food]

by Josette Dunn

World Vision Australia today welcomed Arnott’s announcement that it will source ethical cocoa that has not been made with the use of child labour for all of its chocolate-based products, including the iconic Tim Tam biscuit.

In response to a public campaign by World Vision earlier this year, Arnott’s said on 30 March that it was “committed to playing its part by sourcing sustainable cocoa that avoids the use of child trafficking and unacceptable forms of child labour” by the “end September 2010″.

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Don’t be tricked by Halloween treats

[from STLToday.com:]

Read the original article here.

By Charita L. Castro and Jialan Wang |

Children all over America will participate in trick-or-treating festivities this Halloween. Babies not even a year old will be squeezed into peas in a pod, little boys will transform into Ben 10, and tweens will prove that Hannah Montana is forever. Most parents will consider the security of the neighborhood and the safety of the candy received, but few of us will give any thought about how the 90 million pounds of chocolate candy given out this Halloween was made, who made it and under what conditions.

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New Attention Given to Child Cocoa Workers in Ivory Coast and Ghana

25 October 2010
Children living in a cocoa-producing village near the town of Oume, Ivory Coast
Photo: AP

Children living in a cocoa-producing village near the town of Oume, Ivory Coast

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This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.

Chocolate comes from cocoa beans, and more than half of those beans come from two countries in West Africa. But the situation is not all sweetness for poor cocoa farmers in Ivory Coast and neighboring Ghana. The United States has announced ten million dollars for renewed efforts to end the worst forms of child labor in the cocoa industry in those countries.

The grant will support efforts to reduce poverty so parents do not have to depend on the labor of their children. Another aim is to give children more access to education.

The money will go toward a new “Framework of Action” related to an international agreement from two thousand one. That agreement is called the Harkin-Engel Protocol. American Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Elliott Engel led negotiations with the chocolate and cocoa industries.

The Department of Labor announced the grant in September, along with seven million dollars promised by the international cocoa industry. The governments of Ghana and Ivory Coast have also promised resources and policy support for the new efforts.

Kevin Willcutts is an official in the Labor Department’s Office of Child Labor.

KEVIN WILLCUTTS: “We’re at a point in time when we think we have a real opportunity because with the signing of this joint declaration, the parties are coming together and saying that we share a common commitment to address the situation and to offer children better hope for the future through education.”… Read the rest