It seems the days of the oompa loompas are long past … as they have been on hard times for over a decade now. Not much has changed in the last ten years. They got no love then, they get no love now.
Just look at some of the headlines from the past year:
- Feb 9, 2019 Child Slave Labor Rampant in Chocolate Supply Chain
Sixty percent or more of the world’s cocoa is produced in the Ivory Coast and Ghana in West Africa. These countries are notorious for the worst forms of child slavery. An estimated 1.9 million children are engaged in forced labor on the Ivory Coast alone.
- Jan 21, 2019
Do you want slavery with that chocolate?
Most chocolate has been through two separate supply chains before you buy it. The second chain is where a confectioner … buys bulk finished chocolate or chocolate components from one of the huge global companies that make these.
The first chain is where these huge global companies buy cacao from farmers and make it into finished chocolate and components (cocoa powder, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, etc.). It’s mainly the market in this first chain where the problem lies. Almost all of the sellers of cacao are little more than subsistence operations … the buyers can set the price. This extremely uneven market and other capitalist pressures have created a situation where the world has a huge demand for cacao, and yet the farmers who produce it cannot possibly pay (or earn) a fair wage at the prices …
- Jan 9, 2019 Chocolates, caramels might be contaminated with hepatitis A, FDA warns
Candy sold by a Kentucky company and QVC is being voluntarily recalled for fear that it might be contaminated with hepatitis A, according to a U.S. Food and Drug recall notice.
- Nov 30, 2018 Global chocolate supply chain tainted by abuses in Brazil
The global chocolate supply chain is tainted by the use of cocoa from Brazilian farms where human rights violations are common, a report released Friday said. Among the abuses detailed are farmers forced to work off debts to landowners or in degrading conditions, as well as thousands of instances of child labor.
- Nov 06, 2018 Taiwan finds pesticide in organic chocolate from France
Taiwan stopped a batch of organic chocolate from France at the border because it contained an excessive level of the pesticide Piperonyl butoxide. The substance was listed as a low-to-medium-level toxic material, likely to raise the possibility of liver cancer in animals.
- Feb 15, 2018 Cadbury Caramilk chocolate comeback tainted by product recall
A “limited number” of Cadbury Caramilk chocolate blocks have been recalled just two weeks after the retro treat made a popular comeback to Australian stores earlier this month. All Caramilk 190-gram blocks … have been recalled due to a number of products found to contain small pieces of plastic.
The continued plight of the oompa loompas is very unfortunate considering that many studies have found that (dark) chocolate is good for you. Now, ten years ago we said you should be rewarding the oompa loompas for their hard work, but considering that even if they are working hard and not using slave (child) labour or tainted chocolate, we can’t be sure that the producers they are buying the raw cocoa from are even remotely ethical.
They still deserve a a little love, but they also deserve some new job opportunities. They work hard, and it’s not their fault everyone else is less ethical than them.