Red Vines Black Licorice Twists recalled due to lead concern

CALIFORNIA -- UNION CITY, Calif. (AP) -- Officials are warning consumers against eating black licorice candy produced by a California company because it contains high levels of lead.

The California Department of Public Health. issued the warning Wednesday against 16-ounce bags of Red Vines Black Licorice Twists with the label ``Best Before 020413.''

The manufacturer, American Licorice Co. of Union City, has issued a voluntary recall for the tainted batch.

Health officials say the licorice was distributed inside and outside of California. They're working with the company to determine where it was shipped.

Officials say tests show the product contains levels of lead that are more than twice the recommended daily limit for young children.

Authorities say pregnant women and parents of small children should contact their health care provider if they have recently eaten the licorice.

In a statement on their website, the American Licorice Co. released the following statement regarding the recall:

To our Red Vines® Consumers,

Yesterday we heard from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) that some of our  one pound (16oz.) bags of Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists contained traces of lead that were above the acceptable level for food products.

Only one pound bag (16 oz.) of Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists with a “Best Before Date” of 020413 are affected by this recall. The “Best Before Date” is located in black ink on the back of the package. American Licorice is notifying consumers not to eat this candy and asking they return to their place of purchase for a full refund.

In light of the information, we immediately separated all 16 oz. Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists in our warehouse and have issued a public press release announcing an immediate voluntary recall of this product.

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.

Information on lead poisoning prevention is available from the CDPH website, including places to be screened for potential exposure.

We sincerely apologize to any consumers affected by this recall.  If you have questions or concerns, please call our Consumer Response line at 866-442-2783.