New legislation is in the pipeline to ensure that consumers know whether their chocolate treats were produced using slave labour.

The bill, which was proposed by Representative Engel, is expected to be passed by the US House of Representatives next week, having received first-round approval last week. From there it will be put before the Senate for action.

Engel and his supporters explain that consumers can currently buy “dolphin friendly” tuna but have no idea whether their confectionery products were made with the labour of captive children. In particular, accounts have circulated that point to slave labour being used on cocoa plantations in the Ivory Coast, the source of over 50% of the cocoa bean imports to the US.

Any “no child labour” label would appear on products on a voluntary basis, he explained, under a scheme that would be developed and enforced by the US Food and Drug Administration. 

Engel’s staff stressed that imports of chocolate would not be banned. Engle stressed: “We want to ensure that when people of this country eat chocolate, they are not eating chocolate that was processed by child slavery.”