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Question: Are cocoa and chocolate products contaminated with the fungal toxin ochratoxin A?
Answer: Although it is common for cocoa beans to be contaminated with the fungal toxin ochratoxin A (OTA), most of the toxin is found in the shell of the bean, which is removed during processing. Levels of OTA in processed cocoa products, such as cocoa powder, liquor and chocolate have generally been found to be quite low and not of concern. Consequently, ConsumerLab.com has not included OTA testing in its analyses of cocoa products. However, these tests have revealed disturbing levels of toxic heavy metals such as cadmium and lead in most cocoa powders and some dark chocolates. For details, see the Review of Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs, & Supplements >>