In years past, I’d wait until October 30th before I hit the market for Halloween candy. But I now know that’s a sad trick, because conventional candy is full of food dyes: Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, have all been linked to allergic reactions and behavioral problems in children. The only way to avoid these artificial food dyes is to buy USDA certified organic foods, which are guaranteed by our government not to contain synthetic ingredients. But organic Halloween candy has traditionally been hard to find—especially the night before the big day. Not anymore!
Nothing says holiday hostess gift better than sweet things in a pretty box. But here’s the dirty little secret behind mass-produced candy: The U.S. State Department estimates that more than 100,000 children work on the African farms where most cocoa is cultivated, and that 10,000 of those are victims of human trafficking and enslavement. Thankfully, fair trade certified cocoa is slowly but surely making its way into our markets. But what is fair trade, exactly?