Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), today warned consumers not to eat Bibi Rainbow Chewing Gum Confection, Tamanzela candies and Tarritos candies, which are imported from Mexico, after tests by CDPH found levels of lead that could cause health problems. Eating lead-contaminated candy is particularly harmful to infants, young children and pregnant women.
“Lead exposure, both short and long term, can be toxic, especially for infants, young children and pregnant women,” Horton said. “Today’s warning is part of our ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of foods sold in California.”
Bibi Rainbow is distributed by T. J. Candy Corporation of Montebello and Dulceria Guadalajara, Inc. of Industry. These companies have initiated voluntary recalls of the product and are working with CDPH to ensure that all product is removed from store shelves.
CDPH is working to identify California distributors of Tarritos and Tamanzela candies. The candies have been found for sale in some retail stores.
Consumers in possession of Bibi Rainbow, Tamanzela or Tarritos candies should discard them. Pregnant women and parents of children who may have consumed these candies should consult their physician or health care provider to determine if medical testing is needed.
Bibi Rainbow is packaged in 0.77 ounce plastic bottles, shaped like baby bottles, with brightly colored caps. Each bottle contains pieces of chewing gum of various colors and assorted flavors. The individual bottles are not labeled. The bottles are packaged in a plastic bag with 12 bottles in each bag. The net weight of the bag is 9.3 oz. (264 grams). The front of the plastic bag is yellow and contains the words “Bibi Rainbow” in red.
Tamanzela candy is packaged in a plastic jar containing 40 pieces of candy. The net weight of the container is 1.65 pounds, and each candy weighs approximately 0.5 ounces. There is a yellow label on the front of the jar. The label contains the word “Tamanzela.” The individual candies are red in color, are approximately 6 inches long, and are wrapped around a yellow plastic straw.
Tarritos candy is packaged in a 3.3 ounce glass jar with a white plastic cover. The jars contain a green label with the word “Tarritos” in yellow. The jelly-like candy is packaged in quantities of six jars to box.
Recent analyses of these candies by CDPH found that that the maximum lead levels found were 0.90 ppm for Bibi Rainbow, 0.71 ppm for Tamanzela, and 0.17 ppm for Tarritos. California considers candies with lead levels in excess of 0.10 ppm to be adulterated. This level is consistent with the guidance issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November 2006 on the recommended maximum lead level of 0.10 ppm in candy products likely to be consumed by children.
For more information about lead poisoning, consumers are advised to contact their local childhood lead poisoning prevention program or public health department. Additional information and a list of local childhood lead prevention programs is available at http://ww2.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/CLPPBChildrenAtRisk.aspx.
Consumers who find Bibi Rainbow, Tamanzela or Tarritos candies for sale are encouraged to call the CDPH Complaint Hotline at 1-800-495-3232.