Why I NEVER Eat Most Organic Fair Trade Chocolate

February 5, 2013 · 136 comments

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I love chocolate, but I am very particular about which brand of chocolate I eat. Even the very best organic, sustainably produced, fair trade chocolate contains soy lecithin. What is wrong with these companies? Don’t they know that even organic soy lecithin is a waste product?

Soy lecithin is an ingredient in much more than just chocolate. It is used as an emulsifier to keep water and fat from separating in products such as margarine, peanut butter, chocolate, ice cream, coffee creamers, salad dressings and infant formulas. It is ubiquitous in supplements and packaged foods — if it comes in a box or a bottle it probably has soy lecithin.

Soy lecithin is a Toxic Waste Product

Soybean lecithin comes from sludge left after crude soy oil goes through a degumming process. It is a waste product that contains solvents and pesticides with color ranges from dirty tan to reddish brown. Manufacturers then bleach it to make it the more appealing light yellow color.

Additionally, let’s not forget that 90% of the soybeans in this country are now genetically modified and very heavily sprayed with glyphosate herbicides (compliments of Monsanto). Consequently, most of the soy lecithin is from genetically modified soy which is full of chemicals that are truly poisonous.

The action of glypohsate is incredibly damaging to everything it touches. It is a poison plain and simple.

We use a chemical that is a poison (glyphosate) to raise crops. The crops are fed to livestock. The livestock get sick and we have to call the vet who uses chemicals to treat them. The chemicals from the food and the chemicals from the treatment are now in the meat of the livestock that humans eat. The humans get sick and go to the hospital where they use chemicals to treat them. Full circle.

Break the cycle. Avoid all genetically modified products. Avoid all soy products because they are almost 100% genetically modified. Avoid soy lecithin because it comes from genetically modified soy and is an ingredient in many commercial products.

A Thousand Uses For Soy Lecithin

Soy lecithin became more available in the early 1900’s when companies realized that they could use this waste from soybean processing  — soybean oil refining was a fast growing industry – and resell it as soybean lecithin. In previous years, lecithin was derived from egg yolks. It is very difficult to find lecithin from eggs at this point.

According to Dr. Kaayla Daniel, the author of The Whole Soy Story,

Scientists hired to find some use for the substance cooked up more than a thousand new uses by 1939.

Since it is a natural product, it isn’t bad for you – right? After all, it is found in the cells of all living organisms. Wrong. It is bad for you and since it is in everything, you are likely getting more more than you think.

Soy Lecithin — The Wonder Food

Health claims have been made for soy lecithin since the 1920’s. These include benefits for atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, liver cirrhosis, gall stones, psoriasis, eczema, scleroderma, anxiety, tremors and brain aging.

It makes sense that it might be beneficial  because our bodies use phospholipids in the structure of every cell membrane and along every nerve cell. However, the phospholipids found in soy are considerable lower than those found in egg yolks.

It was popularized in the 1960’s and 70’s by Adele Davis and other writers and became the latest health panacea. In 2001 it was backed by the FDA and allowed to be notated on labels as being a good source of choline. Research from the University at Chapel Hill and at Duke University backed up the claim for soy as being a good source of choline along with eggs and milk products.

Supplements with Soy Lecithin

Phosphatidylcholine is a popular supplement that alternative practitioners use to prevent and reverse dementia, improve cognitive function, increase human growth hormone release, and to treat brain disorders such as damage from stroke.

Phosphatidyl Serine is another supplement that supports brain function and mental acuity as well as sleep disorders.

However, I would think long and hard about using these supplements if the lecithin is derived from soy. Typically it is not sourced from organic soy.

Another phosphotidyl substance worth mentioning is lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE), which the FDA has approved for fruit ripening and shelf life extension. Just another additive with dangerous potential effects.

Soy Lecithin is Highly Allergenic

The manufacture of soy lecithin theoretically eliminates all of the soy proteins which would eliminate the allergenicity. However, there is always minute amounts of soy protein remaining in lecithin as well as in soy oil. This fact makes it very difficult for people with allergies or those who are highly sensitive to soy.

For some people, even the tiniest molecule of soy can set off an immunological response and trigger a flareup of symptoms. It is just as reactive as gluten and because, just like gluten, it is in everything, those folks need to be extra careful which commercial foods they eat.

Dangers of Soy

In the early 1990’s I fell under the spell of the joy of soy. Now that I know better, I wouldn’t go near it with a ten foot pole. Read about my 7 Reasons to Avoid Soy Like The Plague.

Just to mention a few problems with soy — it is a goitrogen. That means it will have a negative affect on the thyroid gland. Soy contains substances called phytates, lectins and enzyme inhibitors which make it very difficult to digest. Additionally it has isoflavones that mimic the effects of estrogen and can be very dangerous for children and adults to consume.

Soy Lecithin in Chocolate

Soy lecithin is used in chocolate as an emulsifier. However, chocolate can be made without it. There are several brands of chocolate that manage to produce fantastic chocolate without any lecithin (or other additives) and that taste great. When I am not making my own, I prefer to buy a commercial product that has as few additives as possible.

If you take a look at all the ingredients in every bar of chocolate in a store like, for instance, Whole Foods, you will not find one that doesn’t have soy lecithin. Even the organic, fair trade, sustainable brands all have soy lecithin.

I enjoy some chocolate now and then, but I am very careful which one I buy. Mostly, I make it at home — so easy from pure, organic, fair trade cacao powder, cacao butter and a little honey.

Here are three suppliers of chocolate that make it without soy lecithin:

Of course all sweets should be eaten in moderation and the 80/20 (or 90/10) rule can apply here. I’ve given up lots of commercial products because they contain too many ingredients that are just bad. Of course, once in a while it certainly wouldn’t be harmful to have some of these additives (unless you are super sensitive or on a healing diet very strictly.) However, soy and all of its derivatives is a dangerous and poisonous food.

This poison is non-negotiable. No soy lecithin for me. What about you? Leave a comment and let me know!

Soy Lecithin: From Sludge to Profit

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{ 118 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Renee February 5, 2013 at 9:54 pm

I feel the same way! I don’t understand why they have to ruin perfectly good chocolate with that junk! I do up the Lindt 85% – just the right amount of sweet to satisfy me and not be too bitter ;) and no soy!


2 Jill February 5, 2013 at 10:31 pm

HI Renee,
It is so exasperating when they ruin a good thing!


3 JG April 12, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Theo Chocolate doesn’t use soy lecithin. They are the first organic fair trade chocolate maker in North America.


4 Julie February 5, 2013 at 10:44 pm

Insert sad face here :(


5 Liz February 5, 2013 at 11:26 pm

I love the Lindt 90% bars. My two-year-old and I enjoy a couple squares now and then. My friend gave me one of the Green and Black’s 85% bars last week and it just tasted funky. Neither one of us liked it. So frustrating!


6 Michael February 5, 2013 at 11:35 pm

The Lindt is excellent chocolate, but not orgainc or fair trade. For good soy free orgainic fair trade chocolate- try Vintage Plantations, Equal Exchange, Alter Eco, and the ultimate – Dick Taylor http://www.dicktaylorchocolate.com/


7 Nura May 12, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Thank you, Michael! Exactly what I was looking for when I found this page. :)


8 Susan April 26, 2014 at 9:44 am

I thought it might be helpful to update this with a reply – I just checked with Vintage Plantations and received and email back from one of the owners regarding their fair trade, soy-free status:
“We work direct with farmers and pioneered the rainforest alliance program. We pay a lot more for beans that the market price but we are not fair trade certified .
We are soy free though. We also do custom formulation.”

I have a client seeking soy-free, fair trade chocolates to use as corporate gifts for her clients, so I am researching a few options. I checked with Vintage based on Michael’s comment above – so I thought it would be good to let everyone know their response. It doesn’t mean they don’t meet the requirements for fair trade, it’s just that they’re not certified as such. I don’t know what’s involved in that process, so I’m probably not the best judge. Just wanted to provide a little more info.

Also, DickTaylorChocolate.com looks like a great resource, but about 80% of their product is shown as “sold out” on the website – I know they do small batches, but am concerned the product might be difficult to obtain when needed because of that.

Hope this helps.


9 AmandaLP February 5, 2013 at 11:38 pm

We carry Equal Echange chocolate in our food coop. Most of the products are soy free, most of the dark ones are vegan as well (no funky milk stuff.). And, very delicious!



10 Kirstyn February 6, 2013 at 12:05 am

Do you have a recipe for your homemade bars? I didn’t have much luck finding a recipe that uses cocoa butter. I’d love to try a batch!


11 Eileen February 6, 2013 at 12:13 am

I fully realized how prolific soy is, when I looked at the labels on herbal tea blends and found soy lecithin as the last ingredient in almost every one! Why on earth would you need an emulsifier in tea? I’m not someone prone to conspiracy theories, but when you start reading food labels, it’s hard not to wonder.


12 Jill February 6, 2013 at 11:42 am

It’s amazing where they will put a waste product and call it healthy- just like fluoride.


13 Harm April 6, 2014 at 11:08 pm

I live in China and find this article helpful. However, the Chinese have relied on non-pesticide, organic soy for thousands of years. ‘Soy and all of its derivatives is a dangerous and poisonous food’ is factually incorrect. ‘Soy’ is not dangerous; pesticides are. Soy is also not always GMO. Soy is a good source of essential amino acids and many Chinese people grind the beans in a blender to mix the powder with water and make a legit soy drink. Please discontinue the tirade against soy beans. They’re not all gmo. And pesticide-laden. I am inetersted in what you think about how to actually convert to an organic farming scheme on a large scale where people can use the large companies and their skills to encourage healthy food production. Any thoughts?


14 Harm April 6, 2014 at 11:10 pm

I am not replying to Eileen’s comment here, but to the original article.


15 Carol April 16, 2014 at 7:28 pm

Soy, in ALL forms GMO or not, mimics hormones, and disrupts endocrine function. Although the Chinese may consume it regularly, it is NOT healthy!


16 Meagan February 6, 2013 at 2:25 am

Don’t forget Theo’s, some Trader Joes, Taza and Ghirardelli 100% baking bar for other dark chocolates WITHOUT SOY LECITHIN! :)


17 Meagan February 6, 2013 at 2:26 am

Yes, and Equal Exchange, and some Alter Eco! Alter Eco and Equal Exchange have the BEST mint dark chocolate bar I’ve ever had!


18 Tina February 6, 2013 at 7:26 am

Lindt is NOT fair trade and organic. I don’t eat it. Alter Eco Dark Blackout chocolate is the best! Trust me, I am a dark chocolate expert! The Blackout chocolate (85%) has less than 1 gram of sugar per square. I have some every night with no guilt! Theo is good too. I’ve actually been to their factory in the Fremont districe of Seattle. Very high standards and quality stuff.


19 Jill February 6, 2013 at 11:44 am

I’m going to look for the Eco dark- sounds great!


20 Henrik March 9, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Tina, you are not making sense. If it is 85% chocolate then 15% of the bar is sugar, surely that will be more than 1 gram of sugar per square? Or are the squares smaller than 7 grams each?


21 Bruce June 2, 2014 at 3:10 pm

Each square is much smaller than 7 grams. But also, the remaining percentage isn’t always just sugar. I used to think that, too!


22 Erica February 6, 2013 at 7:43 am

Perhaps not as popular or easy to find as Equal Exchange or Alter Eco is, but Kallari makes the absolute best chocolate I’ve ever tasted. It’s so smooth and delicate without a trace of bitterness. If you see it around, try it! It’s organic, fair-trade, small-batch produced and not produced in a shared facility with gluten. I promise I don’t work for Kallari, I just love their product!


23 JCleary February 6, 2013 at 8:38 am

I’m so new to all this. My awareness to change is to the alarming problems my grandchildren have developed.
Two questions: how can they call it ‘organic’ if the soy lecithin is from a GMO source?
Why does Whole Foods continue to carry products that are promoted as ‘good for you’ although they are not?


24 Lori February 6, 2013 at 8:50 am

I ask this of The Fresh Market as well. But at least they mark their products either conventional or organic, so if I do not want to buy conventional, I do not have to. I guess that’s the best I’m gonna get, living in a condo in the city.


25 Lori February 6, 2013 at 8:46 am

I live for dark chocolate. I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. If the chocolate kills me, I will die happy. The end. ; ) lol


26 Heather February 6, 2013 at 9:11 am

In Australia we have Loving Earth which is gluten, soy, dairy free, vegan, fairtrade and organic….and delicious!
Today I also found Bonvita Rice Milk Chocolate which is organic, fairtrade, dairy, soy & gluten free.


27 Julie May 29, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Wow – the more i hear about Australia the more i wish i lived there!


28 Cara cheat September 21, 2014 at 6:48 am

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your efforts and I am waiting for your further
write ups thanks once again.


29 Noelle February 6, 2013 at 9:44 am

I am grateful for the alternatives. I am always looking for soy free chocolate. And I love the honey sweetened alternative for those of us on GAPS.


30 Lisa Lynn February 6, 2013 at 9:49 am

I read your post title and thought “Huh? Rats, I just bought 40 pounds of organic, fair trade chocolate! What could be wrong with it?” I just went to the catalog and checked the ingredients…no soy lecithin in what I bought. Relief!

But seriously…your title is a little misleading. Not all organic fair trade chocolate contains soy lecithin and perhaps a better title would be ‘Why I don’t eat soy lecithin.’ Some people don’t read the whole article and will come away with the impression that organic and fair trade are bad…which is totally not the case. Having said that, I am really glad to have the info about soy lecithin so I can watch for it in the ingredients in the future! Thanks for the info!


31 Jill February 6, 2013 at 11:47 am

I think people need to be very careful about fair trade chocolate simply because many do have soy lecithin. I certainly support fair trade when it is a good product.


32 MaryCay February 6, 2013 at 10:05 am

Like most, I have a small addiction to chocolate. I felt like it was “bothering” me and it turns out I have an intolerance to soy and vanilla. Came across a chocolate in North Carolina called Escazu. I’m not sure if its fair trade but it was the best tasting chocolate I’ve ever had. No soy, vanilla, dairy – just chocolate and sugar. They have a milk chocolate made with goat milk, haven’t tried it, but sounds intriguing.


33 Shar February 6, 2013 at 10:07 am

Lisa Lynn – nice points well made about the title. It is true, often the titles are scanned, from a generally trusted source, it could be very misleading, and harmful to an effort that IS a very good one!

What brand of chocolate did you buy 40 pounds of that was apparently clean?

Thanks Lisa Lynn for your reply,
and thanks for the very good information in the article.

We do love our chocolate.
Have you posted or linked to your home made chocolate instructions?
Would love them :) :) :)


34 jp February 6, 2013 at 10:16 am

Because lecithin is a by-product of something else it is profitable to sell than to pay to dispose.


35 Stephanie February 6, 2013 at 10:25 am

I have been on the hunt for the perfect MILK chocolate bar for the occasional indulgence. Organic, fair trade, NO MILK POWDER, no soy lecithin. No matter what I look into, something is always wrong. Equal Exchanges milk chocolate bar with caramel does contain soy lecithin. Vintage Plantations has milk powder. If anyone can recommend an organic milk chocolate bar with no man altered ingredients (fair trade would be great, too) and natural sweetner included, I would be all over that.

I am continuing to research the other brands named but not holding out much hope. :( So sad.


36 Henrik March 9, 2014 at 8:35 pm

Stephanie, unfortunately you are on a tough mission. No solid chocolate can be made with milk, if the milk has not been freeze-dried first, and the reason is that chocolate can not have any liquid added to it, as the cocoa butter will seize if mixed with fluids and the producer will not be able to temper and mold an appealing chocolate bar. Your only chance to get a milk chocolate bar is made with milk powder. With some luck you can get a chocolate bar made with soy milk powder. Don’t like milk powder? Get used to dark chocolate


37 Jelli February 6, 2013 at 11:01 am

I guess I just learned something new today. Thanks for sharing the info on one of my favorite foods~.


38 Jimmy's mom February 6, 2013 at 11:14 am

Just FYI for everyone, although not all of Green & Black’s bars are not soy-free, their 85% dark has NO SOY LECITHIN. And it is divine. A much better choice than Ghiradelli or Lindt, IMO.


39 Prophet August 20, 2013 at 9:09 pm

WARNING my fellow chocolate lovers

Hey just wanted to let everyone know I have disappointing news on Green and Blacks.

IT DOES CONTAIN SOY LECITHIN Read it on their own website. They do not put it on the label. I find it to be very deceptive. Even if it were only trace amounts it still is not right to not put it on the label.


40 Jeanine B. February 6, 2013 at 11:24 am

If you don’t mind me asking, where do you purchase your organic, fair trade cacao powder? I tried looking in your “marketplace” section, but I didn’t see anything on cacao powder. It would be really helpful. Thanks!


41 Jill February 7, 2013 at 6:04 pm

I buy in bulk, cacao powder and cacao butter:
Mountain Rose Herbs


42 Becky February 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm

I’m a faithful reader of your blog but I think your lead in paragraph was a bit misleading. It implies that ALL of the brands and ALL of the different levels of dark chocolate contain Soy Lecithin. They don’t. Green and Blacks 70% does, but Green and Blacks 85% doesn’t. Same with many other brands. Granted, the Endangered species brand uses it pretty much across the board from what I’ve found, but with many of the others it’s used in some of their chocolate and not all. Just wanted to mention that because I felt the photo implied that all of Green and Black’s chocolate contained soy but it doesn’t. :-)
What I don’t understand though is why, if they can make an 85% chocolate without Soy Lecithin, why can’t they make a 70%, 65%, etc. the same way? Makes absolutely no sense to me.
I will buy the Lindt 85% in a pinch – because again, many of their other chocolates contain soy – but it’s not organic and I prefer to buy organic chocolate. Trader Joes has the best variety I think I’ve come across for organic dark chocolate that’s soy free. I stock up whenever I’m lucky enough to visit one because we don’t have one in our area.
Unfortunately, chocolate is like every other processed food product we buy nowadays. You HAVE to read the ingredients and HOPE that they’ve truly listed everything that’s in there because sadly, that’s something that certain types of food manufactures aren’t required to do. That’s what I’d LOVE to see you do a post about one day. All of the things they can do to our food that adds chemicals to it that they don’t have to tell us about in the labeling.


43 Nancy@livininthegreen February 6, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Thanks for the “heads-up.” I hardly eat chocolate anymore, but it’s good to know. I think any packaged (processed) food is going to have something harmful in it, so I do try to limit them as much as I can.


44 JMR February 6, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Thank you for the suggestions of brands that don’t contain soy lecithin. I’ve been trying to avoid soy, but occasionally, the chocolate monster gets me and I buy chocolate with soy lecithin in it. I’m so happy to have alternatives, now.

BTW, I loved the post title. That’s what made me click on the link at KellytheKitchenKop and read the article. And since I have the capacity both to read and to think, I decided not to immediately run around telling everyone not to eat organic chocolate without reading the article first. That would be a very silly thing to do.


45 Jill February 6, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Bravo to your fine brain! Thanks for addressing that!:)


46 annie February 6, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Cheers! I agree!!!


47 sherri February 6, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Just thought I’d let you know I’m enjoying a piece of Whole Foods 365 organic 56% chocolate (given to me as a gift), I flipped it over expecting to see soy, but it was not there! Perhaps it changed recently? I usually buy equal exchange. Giving up chocolate is not an option.


48 Denise February 6, 2013 at 5:24 pm

This was an eye-opener for me. I buy one bar of 88% Cocoa Endangered Species Bar a week and have three squares at lunch. I was very disappointed to read this post and then flip my bar over and sure enough the soy lecithin was right there in the ingredients. Bummer. Will be scouring my health food store where I buy it for a new one that’s organic and fair trade but does NOT have soy lecithin. Thanks for the education!!


49 Kristen @ Smithspirations February 6, 2013 at 5:30 pm

I have to agree as well. Lindt 90% is my favorite chocolate bar, and I love that it is low in sugar and doesn’t have the soy in it. You said it perfectly: If it comes in a box or a bottle, it probably has soy lecithin in it! Yuck!


50 Veronica February 6, 2013 at 9:04 pm

I’ve found the Theos brand to be soy free but it does have corn.


51 Joel February 6, 2013 at 9:49 pm

I just returned a box of Celestial Seasonings decaf green tea for the very same reason: soy lecithin in the list of ingredients. This to a HF store that has taken a stand against GMOs. They were suprised & embarrased. Read EVERY label !


52 alyse February 6, 2013 at 11:55 pm

I just read your blog post, and then grabbed the 1/4 eaten bar of dark chocolate with sea salt on my desk to see if it had soy lethicin in it. It’s Theo Chocolate made in Seattle WA (sold at the local Whole Foods here too) The back of my bar tells me Theo is the first organic and Fair Trade Fair for Life bean-to-bar chocolate factory in the US. So looks like I’m kosher on this one ;)
Now I get up from my desk and walk over to the side table by the couch where my husband’s bar of half eaten dark chocolate lies. It too passes the no soy lecithin test; Alter Eco Dark Blackout. Located in San Francisco, their bars are showing up at Whole Foods here and at all of the local co-ops. It’s pretty tasty too. Love that you are pointing out this problem with soy lecithin. I have a jar of sunflower seed lecithin in my pantry.
Now that I understand how soy lecithin is made, I wonder if that jar of über expensive organic sunflower seed lecithin is also just a by product of making sunflower oil? Meh!


53 Brooke February 7, 2013 at 12:00 am

So you say you make your own chocolate but you don’t post the recipe??? You’re killing me Smalls! Please email me the recipe at aproverbs31wife@gmail.com. I’d love to make my own.


54 Jamil @ High Brix Nutrient Dense Foods February 7, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Is chocolate a healthy food? WAPF does not think so and either do I – for the most part. Then again David Wolfe promotes it as a super food. http://books.google.com/books?id=N1DTZ18N-_YC&pg=PT291&dq=david+wolfe+chocolate&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ybMSUfGfFYSvygHxpoDwCA&ved=0CD4Q6AEwAQ

In Reams Biological Theory of Ionization (RBTI) as applied to human nutrition, chocolate is viewed in negative terms for most people. “Keep in mind that there are some food items that are very hard on the kidneys: chocolate, black or oriental teas and carob. All three of these cause the kidneys to constrict to a certain degree. This interferes with the removal of wastes form the body. If there are any problems with kidney function, the person should definitely stay away form these items.” Chocolate is classified as a no-no food that generally promotes energy loss (Biological Ionization As Applied to Human Nutrition p. 226, 259). This is quantified by running RBTI tests such as conductivity, urine+saliva pH, ureas, cell debris, and brix. Practitioners have observed people who eat chocolate tend have worse and worse test numbers and improvement in numbers when they get off foods like chocolate. They also tend to feel better and become healthier with better numbers and vice versa.

One basic premise of RBTI is people are not as healthy today because we have mineral depleted real foods because of soil depletion, among other things, so people are even more sensitive to eating things like chocolate. The body simply does not function as well. I have tested chocolate with applied kinesiology. I have very accurate results with it. I ate chocolate (high quality without any junk ingredients) once in the evening and got an explosive amount of energy that caused me to go to bed very late. I ate it for several days in a row and noticed a plummeting in my energy levels.

Then again someone may have the RBTI numbers be unaffected by chocolate and do fine. Someone who is really healthy – his high reserve energy using RBTI terms in such as case – would likely be fine eating a good chocolate, such as the ones Jill recommends, every now and then.


55 Jill February 7, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Thanks for you comment.I must admit — I do not know a lot about Brix but am thoroughly intrigued. Can you post some pertinent links for an introduction on this concept?

Yes, I do know that WAPF does not endorse chocolate — but there are many of us who are never going to give it up…


56 Lauren February 7, 2013 at 4:11 pm

For a while now, I’ve known that I can’t eat chocolate with soy lecithin. After much trial and error, I narrowed it down to that ingredient that would bother my digestive system. The best deal I’ve found is the organic dark chocolate bar at Trader Joe’s. It’s in a purple wrapper, and it’s not only delicious, but it’s only $1.99 a bar! Thanks for the good information!


57 Jill February 7, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Yes I’ve eaten the Trader Joe’s dark chocolate and have been reminded that it does not have soy lecithin in it. I do prefer the Lindt 90% — less sugar and once you get used to the taste it is awesome!


58 Eileen February 7, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Jill, what’s your feeling on raw cacao vs. organic cocoa powder (from roasted beans).


59 Megan February 7, 2013 at 11:56 pm

I’m curious about this, too!


60 Michele February 8, 2013 at 9:27 am

I would recommend Raaka virgin chocolate. It is soy-free, nut-free and vegan. The company ensures cocoa farmers receive at least $500 per metric ton above market price, and the cocoa husk is donated to local schools. It is absolutely delicious. Ingreidents: Organic cacao beans, fair-trade organic cane sugar, organic cacao butter. You can visit their website at RaakaChocolate.com. I found it in Manhattan, but you can order it online.


61 Micki July 30, 2014 at 3:50 am

An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I believe that you ought
to write more about this subject matter, it might not be a taboo subject but usually folks don’t
speak about these topics. To the next! All the best!!


62 Jean February 9, 2013 at 8:14 am


I absolutely love your blog and appreciate all the time you spend educating others, but I have to say I’m really disappointed in this post. As others have said, the title is very misleading. Yes, it may grab people’s attention, but they really aren’t going to read the FACTS that all organic, fair trade chocolate doesn’t contain soy lecithin unless they go through all the comments.

I’d hate to think so,e people will stop purchasing fair trade chocolate simply because of your grabby title and will inadvertently end up supporting child slavery. There are a lot of ethical considerations when talking about cocoa production as well. I think it’s somewhat irresponsible not to mention that in your post. I’m really hoping you’ll consider revising this to be more clear.


63 Jill February 9, 2013 at 10:39 am

@ Jean,
I was thinking about changing the title after the comments above and of course your comment. Certainly I did not mean to be misleading about the value of fair trade products.

Herewith: On 2/9/13 title has been changed to include the word “most”. As others have pointed out in the comments, there are several fair trade brands that do not include soy lecithin and have a minimum of other additives.


64 M.Poppins February 9, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Just wondering-you talk briefly about the fact that lecithin is in everything(almost). Did you mean that this lecithin was a problem too? I mean, is it the lecithin thats the problem, or the fact that in the case of soy, it comes from a highly processed, GMO, chemical laden waste product? ;)


65 Jill February 9, 2013 at 10:30 pm

It is mainly the soy lecithin that is the problem They used to make lecithin from egg yolk and now rarely it is from sunflower seeds. These two other sources of lecithin are better than soy — due to all the problems with the soy as noted in the post.


66 Rachel Ramey February 11, 2013 at 10:13 am

I have three, unrelated-to-one-another thoughts on this post:

1) In answer to the previous commenter, lecithin, as a general substance, is actually a healthy nutrient that’s necessary for the proper use of cholesterol by the body. So the fact that it’s lecithin is not what makes it a problem. I don’t know if lecithin from soy (non-GMO) is inherently unhealthful or not (usually lecithin is found in foods that also contain cholesterol – like eggs, and I’m not sure soy is that healthy, regardless), ‘though the genetic modification, as pointed out, is definitely a problem! I guess what I’m saying is that lecithin from natural sources is good, but I don’t know whether soy-derived lecithin is actually “natural” in the way it comes about.

2) If so many people have an issue with an “extra” ingredient in some major brands of chocolate, why don’t we write and tell them that? If, for instance, Endangered Species got 2 dozen emails complaining about the soy in their chocolate and asking them to consider alternatives, maybe they’d look into reformulating their bars. (As for why some companies use it in lower-percentage chocolates, but not in the darkest chocolates, it’s probably because it’s used as emulsifier. There probably isn’t enough of the other ingredients – like milk – in the darkest chocolates, to require an emulsifier.)

3) I understand the concerns about the post’s original title, and I appreciate the graciousness with which it was pointed out – and responded to. But I think it’s a bit of an overreaction. The post was never called “Why YOU Should Not Eat Fair Trade Chocolate,” it was, “Why I…” which made me curious and caused me to click through. As another commenter pointed out, it would be a bit foolish to make buying decisions based only on a post title that doesn’t even include the reasons in it! (And I hope these same readers aren’t doing that with the newspaper or major news network websites. You should see some of the typos we’ve found in those that can totally change the meaning.)


67 Curtis September 12, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Lecithin has many uses since the Greeks discovered it long ago in eggs. In chocolates it is mainly used as an emulsifier, for texture, and a shelf life extender for the companies that make it. Most chocolate that doesn’t use lecithin you will find hard and bitter like most European chocolates taste although they do use lecithin. Most dark chocolates not all do not use lecithin. Green and Black’s organic chocolates use non-Organic lecithin so buyer beware…..


68 Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) February 12, 2013 at 12:14 pm

It is amazing how many things its in! I didn’t realize until we had to be cautious of it for an intolerance for my youngest. Now we do our best to avoid it!
Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :)

Thanks for linking back to the Gluten Free Fridays post!

Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com


69 Sandtruck February 13, 2013 at 11:52 am

In addition to all the pitfalls pointed out so far, most processed chocolate has a nice little note on the bar wrapper that says it has been processed in a facility that processes a bunch of other harmful stuff, like wheat, tree nuts, peanuts, all of which makes it something I would not dare eat. Like someone previously stated, there is always something wrong with it that makes it something I can’t eat.


70 Rachel February 17, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Good chocolate is hard to find. I’m blessed that I shouldn’t be eating it. What concerns me is that I can’t find a dairy, white sugar, and soy free that is also fair trade. I feel terrible eating chocolate that isn’t fair trade.


71 Jill February 17, 2013 at 4:05 pm

@ Rachel,
The Liberty Chocolate is made with honey, no soy but I’m not sure it is fair trade. The company is small so it may be. Check their website.


72 Heatherm April 12, 2013 at 3:39 am

Your page came up in my search for chocolate without soy. It’s so sad, I am trying to avoid over processed crap, sad that the green and black’s milk chocolate I buy has soy in it. Also, what is with all the sugar even in organic food? I can’t get into the city to go to whole foods very often, but will have to look more closely for some of the recommended brands. i worked in an organic grocery store for years and we bagged up chocolate chips and chunks, can’t remember if they contained soy crap and additives as well. One could make their own, but I do not see myself doing that.
I need to find good milk chocolate, dark chocolate is too much for me.
Oh, and yes, I consider chocolate food, I had read recently that in France chocolate is considered food, not candy or a treat.


73 Jill April 12, 2013 at 9:42 am

I used t eat only milk chocolate until I had to give up dairy. It was hard to switch to dark chocolate but gradually you develop a taste for it. Now I prefer the Lindt 90% which has very little sugar.


74 Anjanette May 21, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Any thoughts on an alternative to lecithin supplements for breastfeeding moms? I take them daily because I have chronically plugged ducts. I thought the ducts were due to candida/thrush (I’ve had them regularly for 5 years, but I have no other yeasty symptoms), but a candida protocol didn’t do much to help. Then I started lecithin and voila! No more deep breast pain. I don’t feel good about using it, but it’s working!


75 Jill May 21, 2013 at 8:47 pm

If you can get lecithin from eggs that would be good.


76 Sandra May 28, 2013 at 9:02 pm

I really appreciate this post and comments. I like chocolate and see soy lecithin as a red flag and could never understand why this is added as an emulsifier, or why an emulsifier is even required.

I’m wondering about everyone’s thoughts on sugar. I recently randomly read that listing sugar may mean sugar from GMO beets, that a law was passed making it legal to refer to this as just “sugar”. Which means I have no way of knowing anymore if it’s traditional cane sugar in my chocolate!


77 disgusted June 7, 2013 at 3:06 am

I think anything organic or Fair Trade is junk and will never eat it. It is the bottom of the barrel and the items the good companies reject.


78 Steve Rudkin July 22, 2013 at 10:28 am

We have lots of soya free organic Fairtrade chocolate .
Sells in the UK for £2.30 for 85g.


79 Cleo July 30, 2013 at 1:43 pm

This one’s organic and Free of Soy:

(And it tastes great)


80 Prophet August 20, 2013 at 9:12 pm


Read it on their official Website

They do not put it on their label but everyone of their chocolate bars contain SOY LECITHIN even the DARK


81 Danielle @ Analytical Mom September 6, 2013 at 4:46 pm

I’ve got to give a shout out to Theo chocolate, too! They have several varieties with no soy lecithin, plus they are organic and fair trade. Their Congo bars are made of 100% Congolese chocolate, from a special harvest project aimed at training and empowering cocoa farmers in the DRC. Check out what they are doing at theochocolate.com, and ask for Theo chocolate at your local stores!


82 LoveChocolate September 7, 2013 at 10:41 pm

I found Theo’s in our local Kroger store…I also have been looking for a chocolate bar with no soy lecithin. I love it! dried cherries or coconut…nice. On another note, I need to find another bread, our local grocery store which has organic and natural (non-GMO) bread, has soybean oil in it! Another quest to find a product that does not have soybean in it! Whether it is organic or not. I had to change mayonnaise because I discovered they changed from canola oil to soybean oil. Soybean has become the new high fructose corn syrup product to avoid.


83 Jill September 7, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Hi LoveChocolate,
You can make your own mayonnaise — it is so easy and with this technique and recipe you will not fail!



84 Curtis September 12, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Obviously the author of this article did not do his homework! Organic soy lecithin which I developed is not made from sludge as he claims nor with chemicals or solvents. This is the most pure natural lecithin in the world only coming in contact with a small percentage of city water in the mechanical process. Think of a lava lamp, the organic soy oil is mixed with a small amount of water in a heated tank. This causes a reaction, like the lava lamp the hydratable gums separate and sink to the bottom where they are sent to a mechanical dryer that evaporates out the added water leaving only the liquid organic lecithin. The bad for you soy people would like for you to believe that there’s all sort of things left in there to harm you. Actually what people are allergic to are soy protein which 97% or more are removed by filtration. This is the internet people, do your own research.


85 Scott October 11, 2013 at 3:49 pm

You all should try theo chocolate, all processes for making chocolate are non soy and some of their bars are organic, http://www.theochocolate.com


86 Sandy October 16, 2013 at 6:34 pm

I have found that Theo organic, fair trade chocolate is lecithin free. It is not always dairy free, or nut free, depending on the type of bar you purchase. They do not make chocolate for baking/cooking, though, more’s the shame. My personal favorite is the cherry. 70% chocolate. YUM! I actually first found them at Whole Foods. Since then, I have found a few of the Whole Foods 365 brand bars without lecithin also. I have not found them anywhere else here where I live. though I did find you can order them directly from Theo.
I am not a paid sponsor, I just REALLY like their chocolate!


87 Cathie November 14, 2013 at 2:41 pm

First time reader, and so glad I found this. My son is allergic to corn, soy, rice, and nuts. Upon learning this, I began to research and of course read labels on EVERYTHING. On rare occasions he gets a bar of TJ’s organic chocolate, but it’s not Fair Trade. I make cookies for him with Enjoy Life chips, once again not Fair Trade, but I did get an encouraging answer to that problem when I emailed them about it. At first I wondered how a person could be allergic to corn and soy, but when I started reading labels, I came to the conclusion that it must be due to overexposure, since one and usually of both of those seem to be in anything and everything that comes in a package. Needless to say, our pantry looks very different these days, and my friends know me as the crazy food lady. I look forward to reading more here, and sharing what I learn. Thank you!


88 Sweetteas December 12, 2013 at 1:33 pm

You might want to try the cookie mix on this page for your son. http://www.pranafoods.net It free of: soy, corn, rice, potato, egg, dairy, wheat, gluten, nuts and GMOs! It is also awesome, despite what’s not in it! They are also chock full of chocolate chips.
PS Watch out for Enjoy Life chips…their sugar is processed through GMO corn. Really. I avoid corn too and asked them this question once and received an honest, if disappointing, reply. If your son is highly allergic it could be a problem but might not be too bad in small amounts. Good luck staying clean!


89 Juliet November 14, 2013 at 9:40 pm

I agree wholeheartedly regarding soy lecithin and also like yourself, I do avoid it eventhough a chocolate bar might be organic and fairtrade.

Fortunately, I have sourced one (finding a chocolate without soy or/and agave is really rare in Australia). It was an utmost relief when I found it.

Cocolo is the brand.


90 disgusted November 16, 2013 at 2:31 am

Fair Trade chocolate is rubbish. It is the rubbish that other firms do not wish to touch. Fair trade Coffee is also no good. I will not buy anything that has Fair Trade on it as I know I am getting a second rate product and not the best.


91 Vaughan January 10, 2014 at 2:05 am

Few things wrong with this article…. for one if it is Organic there is no processing like you mentioned with artificial dyes and it HAS to come from a non GMO all natural source etc (that’s why it is classified Organic) so that also rules out the use of glypohsate from what you said.

There are MANY good features from Soy Lecithin as long as it comes from an all natural source. Lets not forget Whey was a waste product of cheese for MANY years also till they found out how good that was. It all has to do with the original source and how it is processed, if it is all natural and organic in origin there is nothing but good things to gain from it with many health benefits.


92 Alex January 16, 2014 at 9:59 pm

Good article, I never get chocolate with soy lecithin. The brand Equal Exchange does NOT use soy in their chocolate bars, I’m eating one as I type this. It is fair trade and organic.

I would love to see a list of all of the good quality chocolate bars without soy lecithin!


93 karine February 1, 2014 at 3:58 pm

After 5 and 1/2 years I finally figured out why i had hives everyday. i’m allergic to soy. interesting how the doctors couldn’t figure this out. Hundreds of Benedyls later i now check every single label. Being that i am a chocolate addict (yes, I need a support group). I found ONE chocolate bar without Soy Lecithin at my Organic store. And its milk chocolate. http://www.theochocolate.com

im not sure if all their chocolate bars don’t have soy lecithin but eh ‘salted almond 45% milk chocolate bar doesnt have it listed in their ingredients


94 caroline February 23, 2014 at 2:50 am

thanks for the info. this is good. but are there chocolates without soy lecithin that you will eat? i didn’t see that in your article. i


95 Jill February 23, 2014 at 4:24 pm

It’s towards the end of the article.


96 Steve Rapaport March 9, 2014 at 4:07 pm

The chocolate connaisseur’s website, http://www.seventypercent.com, is full of knowledgeable folks who are able to describe a fine dark chocolate much as a wine critic describes a fine Pinot Grigio. They have a couple of rules about chocolates that they will accept for evaluation.

Three I remember in particular were: No fats other than cocoa butter, no vanillin (only real vanilla), and no soy lecithin ever.


97 Jill March 9, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Thanks Steve,


98 CiCi March 13, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Yes – but organic soy lecithin is supposedly NON GMO and if it’s Non-GMO project verified then that’s even better – buy Alter Eco sustainably raised, organic, fair-trade chocolate – they don’t use soy lecithin as an emulsifier – they employ the age old Swiss chocolatiers method of stirring to to create a creamy texture


99 Ivan April 5, 2014 at 7:48 pm

I make my own organic chocolate with organic cocoa butter, organic cocoa powder & organic powdered sugar. NO lecithin or any other junk!
I temper my organic baby on real marble so it will NOT melt between your fingers but in your mouth & when you brake it, it makes this nice, clean, crisp snapping noise.
When I’m making it I talk to it, sing to it & dance with it & it taste great, so far everybody who was lucky enough to try it, love it.


100 Jill April 5, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Hi Ivan,
Sounds great!


101 claire April 9, 2014 at 12:03 am

…or you could just point out fair trade and organic chocolates that don’t have soy lechitin, like Theo, which is made in the usa too. (european companies and some american companies ship cacao from places like panama to europe, turn it into a bar, and then ship it to the us! that’s a serious footprint.) by opting out of the fair trade and organic portions, you’re saying other peoples’ livelihoods don’t matter as much as yours. you might be putting a toxic substance in your body, but by skipping organic you’re asking some farmer in west africa to put a toxic substance in his/her body. and also at times for a non-living wage. but if i can’t find something that matches my morals as well as my health needs, then i simply don’t buy it.


102 Jill April 9, 2014 at 7:31 am

Hi Claire,
Well said!


103 JG April 12, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Theo Chocolate doesn’t use soy lecithin. They are the first organic fair trade chocolate maker in North America.


104 Jaime April 16, 2014 at 12:18 am

I was never allergic to soya as a child but now I am. My allergist believes it is because of the global saturation of gmo soya. Corporations like Monsanto frustrate me to no end, just because you can doesn’t mean you should! Thank you for the tips on the chocolate available without soya lecithin. I have been on a constant quest since my daughter was born to get this poisonous crap out of our lives. Long live the organic farmers, better for the animals, humans and the planet!


105 Dan Durig April 25, 2014 at 2:14 am

Hi, I am an organic chocolate maker in Lausanne and our company, “Durig Chocolatier” does not use any soy lecithin at all. Not in the chocolate or in the filling. Best regards, Dan Durig


106 Bette May 25, 2014 at 11:31 pm

I don’t have any problem with soy lecithin if it is non GMO. GMO s cause stomach inflammation. Soy lecithin helps your body assimilate the fat, like the lecithin in an egg yolk.

GMO sugar in everything now since 2009 (ish) is poison. I can feel the anxiety rise in me when I eat GMO sugar & the general unwell feeling it produces in me…not to mention the bloating & constipation…TOXIC! M&Ms which I used to eat uses half GMO sugar beets & half real sugar cane, but it’s enough to ruin my stomach for the evening. M&M Mars is stupid & greedy. They should source all non GMO sugar & soy & slap a big fat sticker on the bag proudly stating, “NON GMO”, instead they will just watch their customer base dwindle…like for soda & beer manufacturers…which both use GMO sugar & GMO corn products. If food doesn’t make you feel good you won’t eat it…DUH!

When will the FDA/EPA recall GMOs & Glyphosate…Damages are mounting…

Long term this is absolutely going to be a health disaster for many…


107 Bruce June 2, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Some of the links provided in this article are for non-organic products that are high in sugar. Pesticides are used heavily in non-organic chocolate and should rate a much higher level of concern than soy lecithin.

Also, you would be hard-pressed to make the argument that a little soy lecithin is better than a lot of sugar, since sugar (yes, even the unprocessed “natural” kind) can be toxic to the body and is certainly a major cause of obesity. Excessive sugar consumption is a HUGE problem in the U.S.

The article makes it seem that if you just avoid soy lecithin then you will be making a good choice. That’s not true. That is only one (very minor) ingredient and the fact that it is a waste product doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy. But even if it is unhealthy, it should not be the primary consideration. My opinion for chocolate is that it should be organic first, low sugar second (compare per ounce, not per serving), and every other consideration is a distant third (unless you have soy sensitivities).

Thank you for sparking such an interesting conversation.


108 Bruce June 2, 2014 at 3:55 pm

You can find non-soy, 100% organic, fair trade certified chocolate at:
I buy in bulk wholesale, so I’m not sure what their restrictions are, but I get 84% dark chocolate shards for about $8 a pound ($10 a pound including shipping when I buy 8 pounds). It lasts for many months in air conditioning. That’s a fraction of the price of some of these other options, and I love the taste. It’s different than many of these bars, but once you get used to it, you want want anything else, especially for the money!


109 Bob August 9, 2014 at 1:58 am

I would like to point out that almost all food on this planet has been genetically modified in one way or another. One great example is corn (maize), the plant does not produce an edible kernel naturally and so humans have selected specific seeds and cultivated them since the Neolithic revolution. Another example is vanilla. Natural vanilla is created by hand pollinating the particular orchid that produces the bean. Humans are therefore directly involved in pollinating particular plants and this process is a conscious selection of some plants producing a higher yield and better quality over others, thus ALL vanilla is genetically modified. This selective cultivation is a basic form of genetic modification (choosing the plants with the most desirable characteristics and not replanting from those of less desirable characteristics). This is true of the “cultivation” of animal proteins as well. While this certainly makes our food choices more limited (though people in the developed world have a greater range of edibles than any other population historically and geographically) it also keeps our food supply from being susceptible to diseases which would collapse our food chain and lead to BILLIONS of fatalities due to starvation. See the potato famine in Ireland during the 19th century as am example. Often plants will have their genes modified in order to create a greater diversity as a means of staving off the very same issue. Am I saying that all genetic modifying is safe? No, but not all genetic modifying is bad either. Be informed about what “GMO” really means and how absurd (and impossible) it would be to try and avoid eating food that is genetically modified in any way. As a side note: all cocoa is a processed food, to make it even remotely palatable the pods must go through a labor intensive processing. Go ahead and try eating a cacao “cherry” straight from the plant! Again, just because a food must be processed does not therefore mean it is bad for you and many foods that you would consider healthy are processed in some way. Remember, even a small step, like brining in the case of olives, qualifies a food as “processed”.


110 chris November 19, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Hi Bob,

The selective breeding of species by humans such as your vanilla case, is not considered GMO. GMO means altering DNA in the laboratory, and producing something that you could never get by breeding.. Look up the definition of GMO and you will see.


111 mary August 14, 2014 at 10:01 am

its not just soy i hate vanilla too. please help i’m in the Uk


112 jen August 28, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Try Kallari chocolate! Ecuadorian farmer coop, no soy lecithin, all organic.


113 drew October 6, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Have you tried Vita Organic Foods raw organic chocolate?
Only 3 ingredients, NO SOY LECITHIN!


114 Donna October 23, 2014 at 6:13 pm

Warning: Lookout for Dutching

The method used to process the raw cacao bean can affect the amount of flavanols in the end product.

If your chocolate says “processed with alkali” on the nutrition label, then it’s going to have a whole lot less flavanols (more). Processing with alkali is called “dutching“.


115 rafael January 13, 2015 at 12:48 am

And guess what, the 90% lindt the author recommends and eats, is processed with Alkali (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002RBOCZE/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B002RBOCZE&linkCode=as2&tag=reafoofor-20)

You can see more in my comment below, which is certainly deleted by the moderator by now ;)


116 Martha November 19, 2014 at 9:45 pm

I recently learned that many brands of tea now contain soy lecithin. Why???? It is becoming increasingly difficult to eat anything that does not contain soy. We have to stick with non-processed organic foods, and that’s not even a guarantee of purity because of the “loose” labeling guidelines in the U.S.


117 mackenzie December 20, 2014 at 12:04 pm

map chocolate is soy lecithin-free. we craft small batch bean to bar chocolate using only organic cacao beans, organic cane sugar, and organic cocoa butter. our milk chocolate uses organic whole milk powder.

making chocolate without an emulsifier is harder only when it comes to tempering. we hand temper our chocolate and are able to pay close attention to how each batch is behaving, responding to the ambient temperature and humidity. things that are mass-produced look the same. craft products, whether it is chocolate or a hand knit hat or bespoke shoes will have differences from item to item. but for us, that is what we like: call it personality or diversity!


118 thrillraceresq March 25, 2015 at 6:10 pm

Thanks for the info. I didn’t know soy lecithin came from a sludge. Ewww! But a lot of soy products are labelled NON-GMO Project certified, so that’s good at least.


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