Where chocolate comes from

Chocolate… a food of joy and power. There are people who can take it or leave it, but I find that those people are in a minority.

For the rest of us in the rich world, it may feel like sacrilege to consider where our beloved choccie comes from. But of course it comes from the cacoa tree (Theobroma cacao), grown by farmers. The beans are harvested, traded, processed, and made into chocolate which then is traded again.

The T. cacao genome has been sequenced. Genetically modified (GM) cocoa isn’t being grown commercially, and GMO Compass tells us that it’s not expected for many years. But research is underway into modifying T. cacao for fungal, virus and insect resistance, for product quality and for growth characteristics.

Meanwhile the Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI) says that it’s worth asking how our chocolate reaches us. CABI tells us that the global chocolate trade is really quite ‘weird’. Here in Britain we can choose Fairtrade chocolate. It’s delicious and I hope people in other countries can buy similar products.

About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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