Toxic Lead Levels Found in Imported Candy’s Wrappers


Consumers were warned Thursday not to eat a menthol candy imported from the Philippines, after tests showed that the wrappers contain dangerously high levels of lead.

Storck Eucalyptus Menthol Candy, manufactured in Pasig City, is wrapped in a foil-like paper laden with toxic amounts of lead, said officials of the U.S. Drug Administration.

The Orange County Health Care Agency began looking into the product after a 3-year-old Garden Grove girl was found in May to have high levels of lead in her blood. Because past investigations have linked lead poisoning to candy wrappers, investigators tested Storck Eucalyptus Menthol Candy after it was found at the girl’s home.

No other cases have been reported, said Scott Lewis, a spokesman with the state Department of Health Services.


Tests showed the amount of lead in one-tenth of a Storck candy wrapper to be 80 times the level considered safe for human consumption, Lewis said. Lead from the wrapper can seep into the candy.

Lead is toxic to humans, especially infants, children and pregnant women. It can permanently damage the central nervous system, resulting in learning, behavioral and other long-term health problems.

“Children have a tendency to suck on the wrapper, making if very hazardous,” Lewis said. “And if the wrapper gets wet, the lead will leak into the candy.”

Storck Eucalyptus Menthol is a hard candy, cream white in color, and about one inch across and sold in bags containing 50 pieces.

Health officials urged consumers who have the candy to discard it or return it to the place of purchase.

The candy is sold primarily in markets in Asian American communities, Lewis said. Other candies made by Storck are being tested to determine if they contain lead, he said.

The Department of Health Services’ food and drug branch is working with the FDA and candy distributors to recall the candy.

In cooperation with the FDA, Storck Products has agreed to begin use immediately of wrappers that comply with government standards, Lewis said. The FDA has stopped importation of the candy until the wrappers are safe.

Parents concerned about the candy or wanting information on lead poisoning should call their physicians or the county health department, (714) 667-3771.