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The potential for children to be exposed to lead from candy imported from Mexico has prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue warnings on the availability of lead-contaminated candy and to develop tighter guidelines for manufacturers, importers, and distributors of imported candy.

Lead has been found in some consumer candies imported from Mexico. Certain candy ingredients such as chili powder and tamarind may be a source of lead exposure. Lead sometimes gets into the candy when processes such as drying, storing, and grinding the ingredients are done improperly. Also, lead has been found in the wrappers of some imported candies. The ink of these plastic or paper wrappers may contain lead that leaches into the candy.

People selling these candies may not know whether the candy contains lead. You cannot tell by looking at or tasting a candy whether it contains lead. Consuming even small amounts of lead can be harmful. There is no safe blood lead level. Lead poisoning from candies can cause illness.

What to do if you believe you or your child may have eaten candy that contains lead
See your health care provider. He or she can perform a blood test to see whether you or your child has been exposed to lead and, if so, can recommend treatment options. Most adults and children with elevated blood lead levels do not have any symptoms. As blood lead levels increase, so does lead’s effects on health.

How to tell if candy contains lead
You can tell for sure only by having the candy tested in a laboratory. If you think that you or your child may have consumed lead in candy, see your health care provider for a blood test.

How to get more information about lead in candy
The FDA advises parents, care providers, and others not to allow children or pregnant women to eat candy imported from Mexico. More information and advisories on lead in candy can be obtained from the FDA at or 1-888-463-6332.