Last year, a European Union Regulation (488/2014) went into effect specifying the acceptable level of cadmium in chocolate and cacao-based products throughout Europe. Because the policy was first announced in 2014, producers had a five-year period to carry out cadmium mitigation activities; this was particularly relevant in Latin America where levels of cadmium in cacao beans are reportedly higher than in other cacao-producing areas.
Many countries in Latin America are important exporters of native fine and flavor cacao to high-end European markets. More significantly, cacao in these countries is often produced by small-scale farmers who are economically vulnerable to changes in the international market. Last year, Bioversity International (now the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT) conducted a survey with 200 households in northern Peru and found that 60% of farmers have experienced a loss in income since the regulations came into effect.