Dick Wolfsie: Getting testy over chocolate

My wife read some troubling information the other day in one of her monthly magazines.

You might think the source of this bad news would be a publication like Prevention, where every page is full of things you should not be full of, like red meat, trans fat chips, cakes, pies, and sugary soft drinks. Next thing you know they’ll be telling us to lay off cheese. Or did I miss that issue?

No, this time the messenger was Consumer Reports. I have mixed feelings when reading this publication. As a result of our subscription, Mary Ellen and I have over the years apparently purchased a lemon of a car, an energy inefficient freezer, unsafe snow tires, and a dangerous snowblower.

At the back of the magazine, they tell readers what items they are presently testing in their labs. So, there’s a good chance we also bought the wrong toaster, mattress, sunscreen, meat thermometer, and insect repellants. This past month they were rating blood pressure monitors, which you really need when reading one of their reports.

We have also learned that we probably wasted lots of money buying useless vitamins and even many organic food options. I have trouble sleeping at night because CR rated my pillow choice very low—lower even than MyPillow. I bought a MyPillow years ago, but I returned it. I emailed the owner and told him that sleeping with my head on his product made me lean to the left.

So, what did CR report on that upset my wife? Mary Ellen is a chocolate lover, and the darker the better. Well, things could not have gotten any darker than last week when the new CR landed in our mailbox, just minutes before she tossed it in our recycle bin. Here’s the feature article’s headline:

Some Trader Joe’s dark chocolate has dangerous levels of lead and cadmium.

Say it ain’t so, Joe! This is where Mary Ellen gets most of her chocolate. She will also occasionally pick up non-essentials like eggs, milk, bread, fresh fruits and vegetables.

For years my wife’s consumption of chocolate was based not only on flavor, but on reports that chocolate was good for you—especially the dark variety, which is full of anti-oxidants. True, it contains some caffeine, but if you can’t sleep, what better way to stay awake than scarfing down a candy bar?

CR tested 28 dark chocolate bars at Trader Joe’s. For 23 of the bars, eating just an ounce a day puts someone over a level that CR’s experts say may be harmful. Well, there goes Halloween. Scary, huh?

Mary Ellen was curious to know whether the CR folks also had to taste the candy, and if so, were there any openings available for jobs like that?

Truth is, my wife is very health conscious, so she is now cutting down on her chocolate consumption. She asked if I would be willing to make some similar sacrifices, based on past CR reports. I am proud to announce that last Tuesday was the last vitamin pill I will ever take.

Retired television personality Dick Wolfsie writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected]