The most common issue with tainted Mexican candy comes from its high lead content. Lead causes serious health problems, such as learning disabilities, and particularly harms children and pregnant women. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows no more than 0.1 parts per million (ppm) of lead, certain Mexican candies, particularly ones that contain chili powder or tamarind, contain close to double that amount or more.
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Suckers and fruit pulps that have been coated in chili and salt are Mexican candy staples. However, many chili-coated candies test high for lead content. Chaca-Chaca, a fruit candy that features a train on the package, contained about 0.15 ppm when tested by the Oregon Department of Human Services. Other popular chili-based candies, including Lucas Limon, Super Lucas, and Lucas Acidito, made the list of the Environmental Health Coalition's 12 candies to avoid as a result of their lead content. Other chili candies that have been recalled include Tamanzela, a chili-flavored lollipop, and Miguelito, a chili-coated fruit candy.
Tamarind candies have also tested high for lead. Tamarind candies are often packed in ceramic containers, and the glaze used on the ceramic is thought to seep into the candy, increasing its lead content. Other experts believe the candy becomes exposed to lead during the drying process, when it is placed in areas with high amounts of airborne lead. Bolirindo lollipops, a tamarind-flavored candy that tested high for lead content, containing about 0.22 ppm of lead. De La Rosa Pulparindo tested at 0.18 ppm.
The FDA constantly tests products to determine their lead content. As of July 1, 2010, other Mexican candies that have been recalled due to their high lead content include chewing gum varieties BarriChicle, Dulces Yosi and Bibi Rainbow; lollipops Pinta Labios and Hola Pop; and fruit candies Indy Mini Dedos and Ticorindo. Furthermore, Huevos Confitados, a chocolate candy, and Sonrics Rockaleta, a lollipop with mango gum in the center, were found to contain unacceptable levels of lead.
- Oregon Department of Human Services: Mexican Candy May Contain High Levels of Lead
- The Medical News: FDA Claims High Levels of Lead in Mexican Candy
- All Business: Mexican Candy Found to be Potentially Toxic
- The U.S. Times: Lead in Mexican Candy Is a Sticky Issue
- LA County: California State Health Warning on Lead Contaminated Candy From Mexico
- Lead in Mexican Candy: Which Candy is Safe
- California Department of Public Health