(KTSF by Sean Au)
A health watchdog group has launched legal action against companies and importers that sells14 varieties of plum and ginger candies from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
The Center for Environment Health purchased 19 varieties of plum and ginger candies in February and June this year and sent them to an independent laboratory. Test results show that 14 varieties are shown to contain lead. One variety has lead that exceeds 100 times of what is allowed.
Under Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act enacted in 1986, businesses are to make known consumers’ potential exposure to toxic substances. Importers of food are also responsible for sending their products to be tested.
Lead is known as a neurotoxin. Children under 6 years old are particularly vulnerable as their brains are still growing. Exposure to lead will adversely affect this development, possibly causing learning and behavioral problems.
“This can make it harder for them to learn later on when they are in school,” says Julie Twichell, Community Education Manager with Alameda County. “It can cause behavioral problems, it can cause attention problems. There is also association with agressive problems later in life.”
Some women also consume these candies to alleviate morning sickness without knowing the harm it may cause to the unborn.
“There is no reason why we should not keep importing the candy, but just it needs to be tested before it gets sold to people to eat,” says Caroline Cox, Research Director of Center for Environmental Health.
The Center has sent notices to the five supermarkets and 3 American importers of the candies for them. They have sixty days to respond which may include withdrawing the products from the shelves.
The Ranch 99 in Richmond, and Marina Food in Fremont have indicated they will proceed to remove the products and return them to the importers. The Center for Environmental Health advise members of the public with the lead-tainted products to either return or discard them. (Copyright 2012 KTSF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)