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FDA Proposes Lower Lead Levels in Candy

New guidelines suggest fivefold drop, from 0.5 to 0.1 ppm, in frequently consumed candy

FRIDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. health officials proposed new guidelines this week to further reduce trace levels of lead found in certain candies. The proposed new guidance level is 0.1 part per million (ppm) of lead, as opposed to the previous level of 0.5 ppm for candy products likely to be consumed frequently by children.

"The effect will be a fivefold lowering of the current level," said Michael Kashtock, senior advisor for plant product safety in the Office of Plant and Dairy Foods at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

The agency's announcement followed the testing of certain types of Mexican candy products that showed lead levels significantly above those currently allowable in the United States. Most domestic and imported candies already have lead levels of 0.1 ppm or less. Certain candies imported from Mexico, however, have higher levels. Those products include lollipops coated with chili and powdery snack-type mixtures of salt, lemon flavor and chili powder, the FDA said.

In addition to continued routine testing of candy, the FDA is in talks with the Mexican government and Mexican candy industry.

The guidance will appear in the Federal Register, and public comments and suggestions will be accepted for 75 days after its publication.

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