This calculator allows you to interpret the new European Union (EU) regulation that limits cadmium concentrations in cacao products sold to final consumers in the EU market. The maximum permissible levels according to the apply to the final product. But what is the safe level of cadmium in the raw material (nibs)?

Under the tab [Nibs] you can calculate the safe cadmium content in cocoa nibs or liquor, based on the percentages of cocoa mass, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder used in your targeted product.



This calculator is designed for informational and educational purposes only. CIAT does not take responsibility for possible sampling effects, erroneous laboratory results or commercial implications of the use of this tool.
1. The calculation assumes that the cocoa powder used is derived from the same raw material as the nibs, with the same cadmium concentration.
2. Cadmium concentration in cocoa butter is close to zero (Mounicou et al. 2003).
3. Cocoa powder contains twice as much cadmium as cocoa mass.
4. Chocolate products may contain other ingredients like sugar, milk, fruits, nuts and other add-ins.
The nibs generally contain less cadmium than the husks, but variation exists between cacao varieties. According to literature, the cadmium concentration in the nibs may be 13% to 81% of the cadmium concentration in the husks (Lewis et al, 2018).

The weight of the husks represents about 12% to 20% of the total weight of the dry beans (Mendes and Lima, 2007; Lewis et al, 2018).

According to the information above, one could estimate the safe limit of cadmium for whole beans. In the calculator below, default values of 30% (cadmium concentration in nibs as a percentage of the concentration in the husks) and 17% (weight of the husks as a percentage of total bean weight) are pre-set. The default values are based on mean found in literature.
Milk chocolate with < 30% total dry cocoa solids 0.1
Chocolate with < 50% total dry cocoa solids; milk chocolate with ≥ 30% total dry cocoa solids 0.3
Chocolate with ≥ 50% total dry cocoa solids 0.8
Cocoa powder sold to the final consumer or as an ingredient in sweetened cocoa powder sold to the final consumer (drinking chocolate) ** 0.6
* EU maximum limits for Cadmium in cocoa products to be applicable from 1st of January 2019
** Some further clarification of the Commission Regulation (EU) N° 488/2014 can be found <<here>>, especially on the maximum levels of cadmium in specific cocoa and chocolate products including cocoa powder.