Red Vines, Or Are They Lead Vines?
Hold the black licorice!
The American Licorice Company issued a voluntary recall of its Black Licorice Twists this week after California’s Department of Public Health warned of high levels of lead – more than double the amount deemed healthy for children.
A few days ago I wrote here about the insidious nature of sugar, which can appear in almost any kind of processed food.
The California Department of Public Health puts the amount of lead found into perspective on its website:
Recent analysis of this candy by CDPH determined that Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists candy … contained as much as 0.33 parts per million of lead. This concentration of lead could provide up to 13.2 micrograms of lead per serving. Children under 6 years of age should not consume more than 6.0 micrograms of lead per day from all dietary sources.
How did so much lead get into this licorice? Indeed, why is there any lead in candy?
The agency said 16-ounce bags of the candy, with the label “Best Before 020413,” produced by Union City-based American Licorice Co., were affected.
Customers should discard and avoid eating the candy, the health department said. Pregnant women and parents of children who consumed the product should ask physicians or healthcare providers about potential medical testing.
Now I am feeling guilty, since I often keep red vines in my classroom. It’s not the licorice kind, but who knows? Have I been poisoning my students?
In children, even low levels of lead “have been shown to affect IQ, ability to pay attention and academic achievement,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC).
According to the CDC, lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body, but often goes unrecognized because there are no obvious symptoms. They estimate that half a million U.S. children between the ages of 1 and 4 have blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter, likely from lead-based paints which may be found in houses built before 1978 before they were banned.
How is American Licorice responding? The company said it “sincerely” apologized to affected customers and urged those with questions to call its service line at (866) 442-2783.
“Safety is the number one priority for our company,” the company said on its website. “We are taking every possible precautionary step to make this situation right, including working diligently with our retailers and public health officials in an effort to keep all Red Vines consumers as safe as possible.”
How about keeping those consumers safe by not putting lead in their candy?
What do you think?
Photo Credit: Candy Critic