Entries in Black Licorice (2)


Licorice Recalled Over Lead Levels

Zoonar/Thinkstock(UNION CITY, Calif.) -- The American Licorice Company has recalled one-pound packages of Red Vines Black Licorice Twists, which were found to contain high levels of lead.

The Union City, Calif.-based company issued the voluntary recall on Wednesday after the state Department of Public Health warned consumers to toss the contaminated candies.

The licorice “contained as much as 0.33 parts per million of lead,” according to a statement on the department’s website.  “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.”

The recall only affects 16-ounce bags of Red Vines Black Licorice Twists with the best before date “020413.”  The date is printed on the back of the package.

“We sincerely apologize to any consumers affected by this recall,” the company said in a statement on its website.  “Safety is the number one priority for our company.  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.”

Lead poisoning can cause brain damage and learning disabilities in children.  And in pregnant women, the metal can harm the fetus and increase the risk of miscarriage.

Pregnant women and parents of children who may have eaten the licorice should consult a doctor to determine if medical testing is needed, according to the Department of Public Health.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Halloween Health Scare: Beware of Black Licorice 

JupiterImages/LiquidLibrary(WASHINGTON) -- As costume-clad kids get ready for a night of trick-or-treating, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a warning for candy-loving grown-ups: Too much black licorice can cause heart problems.

The old-fashioned favorite contains glycyrrhizin, a chemical that can trigger a dangerous drop in potassium levels. When potassium runs low, heart rhythms fluctuate and blood pressure can rise causing swelling, lethargy, even congestive heart failure.

Licorice has long been used as a natural remedy for heartburn, stomach ulcers, sore throat and some infections. Although its healing powers remain unclear, several studies have linked black licorice to heart disease and high blood pressure in people over 40 -- even  if they had no history of these conditions.

So how much is too much? According to the FDA, eating two ounces of black licorice a day for two weeks could land someone in the hospital with a heart arrhythmia.

People with high blood pressure, heart disease or kidney disease are even more susceptible to black licorice’s effects, according to the National Institutes of Health. As few as five grams per day could cause health problems.

The good news is cutting back on black licorice can quickly restore potassium levels.

Avoid eating large amounts of black licorice at a time, and alert your doctor if you notice an irregular heart rhythm or muscle weakness, the FDA said. Black licorice can also interact with some medications and dietary supplements, so talk to your doctor if you eat the sweet regularly.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio