Halloween is about fun and playing make believe, and you don't want to tarnish the good times with candy that exploits workers, right? Check out why fair trade candy is important and some ideas for an ethical Halloween!
Chocolate and Child Slavery
Chocolate is the biggest offender when it comes to human rights violations in the candy aisle. Unless the chocolate you're buying is certified fair trade, chances are it was grown and harvested using child labor and even slavery. Hershey has vowed to make two of its lines slavery free, for example, but that's just a small piece of their chocolate empire.
Vanilla and Child Labor
Vanilla is a lesser-known ingredient to keep an eye out for when you're trying to keep human rights violations out of your trick-or-treat bag. Companies use vanilla in all kinds of candies, and that's no surprise. Vanilla is delicious!
Both Madagascar and Uganda vanilla are linked to child labor. Rather than get an education, children work long days harvesting vanilla for our cookies and candy. This quote from a child in the vanilla industry gets to the heart of the problem:
We work for six to seven hours a day from dawn. Many of my friends work in the fields around here. We don’t go to school. I work with my family. Close to the harvest time we all have to sleep alongside the plants to protect them. Ants cover our bodies.
Choosing Ethical Candy
So, how can you find ethical candy to hand out this Halloween? It's not as hard as you'd think! When you're shopping for candy, skip big brands like Hershey's and M&M Mars and look for candy with the Fair Trade certification or the Rainforest Alliance logo:
Both of these certifications look at a company's human rights records all the way down the supply chain. Here are some bite-sized candies that are Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance certified:
- Bug Bites chocolates
- Sweet Earth Organic
- Equal Exchange bite-sized chocolates
- Justin's Peanut Butter Cups - careful, though, these were just recalled for possibly contaminated peanuts
- Sun Butter Cups
Your other option is to skip the candy this Halloween and either make your own treats to give out or be that house that gives out raisins. Be careful with homemade treats, though. Many parents won't let their children eat homemade Halloween treats because of safety concerns.
Do you give out Halloween candy? What are you planning to pass out this year?
Image Credit: Trick or Treat photo via Bigstock