Friday, September 24, 2010

The Dark Side of Hershey Chocolate Co.

Milton Hershey (1857–1945), was a Pennsylvania farm boy with a fourth grade education who went on to build a vast empire. After creating and selling (at a huge profit) his own caramel candy factory, using a caramel recipe he obtained while traveling, Milton went on to invent his own milk chocolate recipe/formula. His is a success story of the utmost caliber. He created a chocolate product that is an American icon and we think he should be honored as a national BONAFIDE HERO and Legend.

What made Milton great though, was the fact that he was a philanthropist of the highest order and proved it through the commitment to fund education of the area's children. He and his wife, never having been able to conceive children of their own, donated and built a school (It still owns the stock for the entire Hershey Chocolate Company and Theme Park!) and a charitable foundation to help township residents.

This guy was solid gold. So what's the dark side?

Well, in the many, many years since his death, the Hershey Company has succumbed to modern business practices. Meaning, that the cocoa itself is outsourced to "improved supply-chain efficiencies." Mainly, the source of the Hershey cocoa now is West Africa and the famed Ivory Coast. A romantic sounding name for a fucking hell-hole where children by the hundreds of thousands are sold into slavery and are beaten, whipped and forced into hard labor on cocoa farms every single day. Children whose bodies are covered in scars and bent crooked from all the physical labor. Half-starved children who will never run in sunshiny grass fields enjoying a piece of chocolate candy.

The CEO of Hershey takes in an annual salary of over $8 million. Just salary, Not bonuses, incentives, stock options and what-have-you. The children on the cocoa farms get nothing. The parents that sold them there probably got a one time only pathetic stipend for the sale of their child.

In fact, all of this is very well known and documented. Hershey Company refuses to comment or change practices, other than issue a pathetic corporate doctrine entitled "Corporate Social Responsibility Report." Gee, wow. We're impressed. You paid spin doctors to write up some bullshitty corporate spiel while children are dying on your farms the entire time and currently continue to do so.

Other companies HAVE indeed changed including Cadbury's who was the first chocolatier to make their products "Fair Trade Certified."

We think Milton would be flipping around in his grave if he knew the good name he spent his lifetime building would be used to denigrate, use and abuse children. The very thing he always wanted.

We will find Hershey's chocolate hard to swallow after this.

Full article at The Huffington Post

READ MORE about Milton Hershey's incredible life

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