April 9, 2004 -- Beware of chili and tamarind candies from Mexico, the FDA said today.
In a statement, the FDA notes that some Mexican candies sold in the U.S. contain lead. Lead, even in relatively small amounts, can cause nerve and brain damage to children.
"The FDA ... is advising parents, care providers, and other responsible individuals that it would be prudent to not allow children to eat these products at this time," the statement reads.
The chili candies usually come in the form of chili-powder-coated lollipops or powdery mixtures of salt, lemon flavor, and chili seasoning.
The tamarind candies are sold in poorly made glazed ceramic vessels. The ceramic on these vessels can release lead into the candy.
The FDA has sent a letter to the manufacturers, importers, and distributors of imported candy warning that the agency may "take action" if candies containing high lead levels continue to be sold in the U.S.