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Aug 23, 2012 4:06 PM by CBS News

Red Vines black licorice recalled over high lead levels

The California Department of Public Health is warning consumers against eating black licorice twists made by Red Vines because they contain too much lead.

Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the department, says tests found that packages with a best before Feb. 4, 2013 date have lead levels that exceed state standards.

Chapman says an analysis of the licorice showed a serving of the candy could provide up to 13.2 micrograms of lead.

The state says pregnant women and children under 6 shouldn't consume more than 6.0 micrograms of lead per day.

American Licorice Co., which manufacturers the candy, initiated the voluntary recall of the affected lot. On its website, the Calif.-based company said only one pound bags (16 oz.) of Red Vines Black Licorice Twists with a "Best Before Date" of 020413 are affected by this recall. The "Best Before Date" can be found in black ink on the back of the package. Consumers should not eat this candy and are asked to return it to their place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions shoud call the company at 866-442-2783.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body, but often goes unrecognized because there are no obvious symptoms. The CDC estimates half a million U.S. children between the ages of 1 and 4 have blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter, likely from lead-based paints which may be found in houses built before 1978 before they were banned.

As part of the CDC's Healthy People 2020 campaign, it wants to eliminate blood levels less than or equal to 10 micrograms per deciliter in Americans.

(Photo Credit: http://www.redvines.com)

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