Red Vines Black Licorice Recalled for Lead Contamination

Red Vines black licorice has just been recalled for lead contamination, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) just announced. American Licorice Company of Union City, California issued the recall.

The tainted 16-ounce Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists are being recalled over elevated levels of lead. Only the one-pound (16-ounce) bag of Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists that contain the “Best Before Date” of 020413 are involved.

American Licorice, which is notifying customers not to consume this candy, learned from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) that some Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists contain levels of lead that could potentially cause health problems to consumers, particularly infants, small children, and pregnant women. In response, American Licorice segregated its entire inventory of 16-ounce Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists.

Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists is a black licorice candy made from molasses, wheat flour, corn syrup, caramel coloring, licorice extract, salt, and anise flavor. The 16-ounce bag is red and white in color; the package is constructed with a window meant to display the black licorice twists candy. The “Best Before Date” is located in black ink on the rear of the package.

Recent analysis of Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists by the CDPH revealed that the now-recalled candy contained lead levels that were as high as .33 parts per million (ppm). A concentration of lead in this amount could provide up to 13.2 micrograms of lead per serving; children under six years of age should not consume more than 6.0 micrograms of lead, per day, from all dietary sources. The CDPH’s position is that sale of this recalled lot of 16-ounce Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists is in violation of California statutes.

Pregnant women and parents of children who may have consumed any of the recalled candy to consult with their physician or health care provider to determine if further medical testing is required. For more information about lead poisoning, parents and caretakers should contact their local childhood lead poisoning prevention program or local public health department. American Licorice said it will be sending recall notices to all of its customers and can be reached at its Consumer Support line, toll-free, at 1.886.442.2783 for further information. American Licorice advises it customers in possession of the recalled Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists against consuming the candy and to return the recalled licorice to its place of purchase for a full refund.

We have written that lead can accumulate in the body over time and pregnant women, infants, and young children, especially, should avoid exposure to lead. Lead exposure in children and unborn children can lead to brain and nervous system damage; slowed growth; headaches; mental and physical retardation; and behavioral, learning, hearing, and other health problems. The developing brain is of particular concern because lead exposure can have long-lasting effects that can continue well into puberty and beyond. Once poisoned, no organ system is immune.

Lead is also known to cause cancer and reproductive harm and, in adults, can damage the nervous system.

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