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The Dark Side of Chocolate

by Adarsh Modi

The Dark Side of Chocolate

June 9, 2021

What do you think about when you hear the word, Nestle? KitKat? Nescafe? Maggi! Yes, all these products belong to the food corp giant based in Switzerland. And naturally, Nestle appears to be one of the sweet nurturing multinational corporations that are essentially good, to its employees, to its customers. But some severe allegations and reports claim and portray Nestle as one of the evilest megacorps in the world.

What is The Price for a Treat?

Nestle is the largest food company in the world, with hundreds of brands currently in circulation globally. But one of its most popular products is its chocolates. The Danish Journalist Miki Mistrati has questioned the chocolates’ origin in his 2010 documentary ‘The Dark Side of Chocolate’. It illuminates the disturbing and visceral presence of child slavery rampant in the chocolate industry. We all enjoy our chocolates, but what if you came to know that the sweet delicacy that you devour is a fruit of child slave labor? 

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Evil Unveiled

The Danish Journalist started the production and his investigation in Germany, where he asked the chocolate manufacturers where their chocolate came from. Then the production went to Mali, the home of the majority of the trafficked children. The film then explores the cocoa plantations present on the Ivory Coast. The film ends in Switzerland, home to Nestle and the International Labor Organization. The film was majorly shot in Guerilla style with a hidden camera in a bag. It was nominated for the Adolf Grimme award in 2012 (A German Television Award, named after Adolf Grimme, the director of Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk. It is also considered to be the German Oscars)  for bringing attention to child slavery in West Africa. 

 

When Nestle Refused to Watch The Documentary

The film was screened at the ILO. Invitations were sent out to major chocolate manufacturers, including Nestle, to watch the film and answer the public’s questions about the decadent trade practice. None of the companies accepted the invitation. The director, as a response, set on his path, vowed to hold Nestle responsible for its actions and screened the film next to the Nestle headquarters in Switzerland using a large screen. 

He wanted the Nestle employees to look and take note of the of the child labour that is pervasive in the company’s tradecraft. As soon as the film started screening, Nestle’s executives rang the police. Nestle, despite being the biggest food and beverage manufacturers in the world, is the most sensitive to this kind of publicity that the documentary brings them because it might end up galvanizing an opposition in its workforce or worse, it might end up damning their beloved chocolate products to the public.    

The Global Cocoa Project is another such project that aims at uplifting the farmers and the actual producers of the cocoa bean—ensuring fair working conditions and a fair wage for their labor. 

You can ensure a farmer’s fair wage too! Check the ‘fair trade’ labels on the food products you consume, which ensures the former. We all love our fix of the coco, but let’s ensure that it’s not manufactured at the expense of a child’s soul. 

 

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