Apparently the problem of lead tainted candy is still not solved. I don't know about the rest of you, but my lack of comfort with the FDA and government agencies designed to protect our food supply is at an all time low. Regarding the way in which these issues are handled and the reasons why, I found some of the specifics in these articles very disturbing. Just read.
Nearly three years after the candy giant Mars Inc. said it stopped producing a line of Mexican candies because of dangerously high lead levels, the products are still available in California and still contaminated.
The Register found that state and federal regulators had known for a decade about the candy but did little to warn the public or remove the products from stores.
The full article: Toxic Candy
The health department has failed to establish clear standards for dealing with unsafe levels of lead. The state considers it a concern when candy registers 0.2 parts per million lead but rarely acts when candies surpass this threshold.
State officials have been reluctant to take candies off store shelves, saying it is impossible to single out candy as the source of lead without dogged follow-up testing and repeated high results.
The Register found that regulators often don't even try to build a case against candy.
Seventeen brands tested high in their only tests, but there were no follow-ups, records show.
Ten of Mexico's biggest candy makers - with brand names such as Montes Tomy, Limon 7 and Pico Diana - have had repeated high lead tests but have not faced federal or state sanctions. One candy, Lucas Limon, tested high seven times out of seven tests in federal labs, but neither the state nor FDA acted.
The FDA has been even more unwilling than state regulators to go after candy makers.
"These are kind of borderline levels that we're seeing in the candy," Terry Troxell, FDA's director of the Office of Plant and Dairy Foods and Beverages, said in March. "You can imagine that if we took action you would hear from Mexico that we're being too stringent."
But lead levels found in candy are not borderline, the Register found.
More than 80 percent of the state and federal high test results show levels so dangerous that eating one piece could push a child past the FDA's recommended daily limit for lead.
Source: Part One - Hidden Threat
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and California regulators have known about the problem of different versions at least since 2002, internal memos show. Yet, they have not done comparison testing of the two versions, including Serpentinas. They haven't worked with companies in Mexico to make sure the two versions are easily distinguished. And they have done almost nothing to address the problem of these candies crossing into the United States. Over the past three years the FDA, which screens food products at the border, has averaged fewer than four candy tests per month, according to records.
Source: Part Three - The Candy Makers