UNION CITY -- The California Department of Public Health has expanded its black licorice recall after determining that additional Red Vines products manufactured in a Union City production center also contain elevated amounts of lead, officials said.

The state's top health officer warned consumers not to eat Red Vines Black Licorice Twists, Family Mix, Mixed Bites and Snaps, in addition to the black licorice products recalled last month, stating that consumption of these candies could lead to twice the recommended childhood daily limit of lead.

The candies' labels are marked a with "Best Before 020413" (Feb. 4, 2013) label, California Department of Public Health director Dr. Ron Chapman said. Consumers should discard packages with this expiration date immediately.

One lot of the candy, Red Vines Black Licorice Twists, had a lead level exceeding the state's standards, Chapman said. The manufacturer and distributor, Union City's American Licorice Co., voluntarily sought the recall and is working with the state department to ensure the contaminated candies are removed from the marketplace.

The source of the lead is under investigation, said public health department spokesman Ralph Montano.

Testing revealed one suspect lot has much as 0.33 parts per million of lead, Chapman said. This concentration of lead, the health department said in a news release, could result in up to 13.2 micrograms of lead per serving. Children under 6 should not consume more than 6.0 micrograms of lead per day from all dietary sources.


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Symptoms of lead poisoning develop over time, and are not likely to be exhibited in children at this point, Montano said. Over time, lead poisoning may include symptoms such as hyperactivity, irritability, sleeplessness, lack of concentration, behavioral problems, and learning disabilities. In more severe cases, hearing problems, headaches, muscle soreness, anemia, neurological impairments such as stumbling or loss of concentration, seizures, and encephalopathy may exist.

Pregnant women and parents of children who may have eaten this candy should consult their physicians or health care providers to determine if medical testing is needed.

Red Vines Sugar Free Black Licorice and Red Flavor Licorice products are not subject to the recall, Chapman said.

Red Vines Black Licorice Twists are sold in a one-pound package that is light red with "Red Vines" written in bold white letters, with the black licorice candy showing through the package. A full list of the recalled products with their pictures and labels can be found at www.cdph.ca.gov.

Consumers who find this candy for sale can call the health department's Complaint Hotline at 800-495-3232.

Staff writer Andrew McGall contributed to this report. Contact Erin Ivie at 925-847-2122. Follow her at Twitter.com/erin_ivie.