A Class Action Investigation Is Being Launched Into Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Bars

Trader Joe's is facing a new lawsuit after a December 2022 Consumer Reports investigation showed that a single ounce of its Dark Chocolate 72% Cacao bar has 192% of the highest amount of lead that is supposed to be in the product. In addition, the report found that a single ounce of the Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Lover's Chocolate 85% Cacao bar has 127% of the maximum amount of lead and 229% of the maximum amount of cadmium. 

Consumer Reports, a nonprofit organization, suggests that these levels are concerning because taking in even small amounts of these heavy metals over time can lead to health issues such as cancer, issues with development and the nervous system, and hypertension. It can also affect the immune system, kidneys, and reproduction. In total, Consumer Reports examined 28 chocolate bars from Trader Joe's, Lindt, Dove, and more. While they all contained lead and cadmium, 23 of the chocolate bars contained dangerous numbers of the metals. 

Trader Joe's, meanwhile, has defended the chocolate bars. "Trader Joe's stands by the safety of its products," a lawyer from Trader Joe's legal counsel, O'Melveny & Myers LLP, told Consumer Reports in February.

Concerns about Trader Joe's dark chocolate bars

According to two of three class-action lawsuits filed against the company, Trader Joe's has reportedly known about the alleged metals in its products since 2014 (via Eat This, Not That!). Dawn Sestito, a partner at O'Melveny & Myers, wrote to Consumer Reports in February, "Of course Trader Joe's takes this matter seriously — and in fact, has been working on it for years."

Still, customers are concerned. The Daily Universe at Brigham Young University reports that McKenzie Cloward, a regular Trader Joe's customer, said she would like to learn more. "It would definitely deter me from buying it, a little bit, just until things are kind of figured out more," she said. The Daily Universe also spoke to Brock Ellison, who said he is worried about the results. "My friend gave me a pound of dark chocolate from Trader Joe's. It was just a gift from him to me and I pounded that in like a day or two, didn't feel too good afterwards, especially after I found out that there might be lead in it. That was kind of concerning to find that out," he said.

Customers who bought the Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Bar have been encouraged to reach out to Schubert Jonckheer & Kolbe LLP to talk about their rights. The firm is looking into why Trader Joe's didn't let customers know about how much lead and cadmium are in these products, which may go against local and federal laws.