Surveillance of Cadmium Concentration in Chocolate and Cocoa Powder Products Distributed in Japan

Shokuhin Eiseigaku Zasshi. 2018;59(6):269-274. doi: 10.3358/shokueishi.59.269.


Chocolate and cocoa are manufactured from cacao beans produced by the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao). These products may contain cadmium (Cd), which originates from contaminated soil. Here, we surveyed the Cd concentrations in dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate and cocoa powder products purchased at retail stores in Japan, using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The Cd concentrations in these chocolate and cocoa powder products ranged from 0.00021 to 2.3 mg/kg and from 0.015 to 1.8 mg/kg, respectively. A weak positive correlation was found between the Cd concentration and the content of cocoa solids stated on the product labels. A comparison between these results and the maximum levels (MLs) set by the European Union revealed that the Cd concentrations in chocolate and cocoa powder products on the Japanese market exceeded the MLs for eight of the 180 chocolate products and 26 of the 140 cocoa powder products.

Keywords: cadmium; chocolate; cocoa powder; surveillance.

MeSH terms

  • Cacao / chemistry*
  • Cadmium / analysis*
  • Chocolate / analysis*
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Japan


  • Cadmium