Red Vines Black Licorice Recalled

September 5, 2012

The Hawai’i State Department of Health (DOH) is notifying consumers that Red Vines Black Licorice, Snaps and mixed bags containing black licorice may contain elevated levels of lead. The American Licorice Company has announced a voluntary recall of the affected products.


Exposure to high levels of lead or chronic exposure to lead could potentially cause health problems to consumers, particularly infants, young children and pregnant women. Consumers who have purchased the affected products are urged to return it to the place of purchase.


No illnesses related to the product have been reported to date in Hawai’i.    Local distributors of the product are working with their retail clients to remove the remaining stock from store shelves in Hawai’i.


The DOH Food and Drug Branch is actively notifying retailers of the recall, as well as conducting inspections to ensure the recalled products have been removed from sale. Questions regarding the product may be directed to the DOH Food and Drug Branch at 808-586-4725.

A letter was posted on the American Licorice Co. website ( on August 31, 2012:

Greetings Red Vines Fans,


We need to update you around the recall of our black licorice products. We’ve decided to expand the recall to include all black licorice products, including our Mixed Bites and Family Mix, as well as our Snaps product that has a black licorice core, surrounded by a candy shell.


The Mixed Bites and Family Mix are being recalled due to the black licorice in the package. Our Original Red Flavor products, and our Sugar Free products are NOT included in the recall.


Your safety is our primary concern and we’ve taken this drastic measure out of an abundance of caution to ensure that all American Licorice products are safe for anyone to consume.


We’ve reached out to all retailers who sell these products and asked them to remove the product from their shelves until we can be 100% certain that the candy out on store shelves meet our quality standards.


On 8/22, we were notified by the California Dept. of Public Health (CDPH) that they had detected trace amounts of lead in one batch of our black licorice (16 oz. Bags of Black Licorice Twists with “Best Before Date 020413” printed on the label) that exceeded the amount of lead that they deem safe for candy products.


At that time we issued a voluntary product recall of this batch of licorice and immediately launched an extensive internal investigation to get to the root of the issue, including additional testing of our raw ingredients, products, equipment and water lines, in an attempt to identify what caused the elevated levels of lead. Our testing suggests that slightly elevated levels of lead above the recommended maximum levels of lead for young children may also be found in some recent batches of Red Vines Black Licorice Twists, Family Mix, Mixed Bites and Snaps. No detectable lead was found in recent testing of Sugar Free Black Licorice.


We know that several of you will have questions about the expanded recall, so we’ve created an FAQ document with the facts we have available at this time.


We will update you here as more information becomes available. We appreciate your understanding and support as we work to correct the issue and will answer whatever questions we can here.


Thanks – American Licorice Co.

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