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Red Vines® Black Licorice Recall Notice

By Cory on August 22, 2012 | Category: News | 157 Comments

To our Red Vines® Consumers,

Yesterday we heard from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) that some of our  one pound (16oz.) bags of Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists contained traces of lead that were above the acceptable level for food products.

16 oz. of Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists

Only one pound bag (16 oz.) of Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists with a “Best Before Date” of 020413 are affected by this recall. The “Best Before Date” is located in black ink on the back of the package. American Licorice is notifying consumers not to eat this candy and asking they return to their place of purchase for a full refund.

In light of the information, we immediately separated all 16 oz. Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists in our warehouse and have issued a public press release announcing an immediate voluntary recall of this product.

Safety is the number one priority for our company. We are taking every possible precautionary step to make this situation right, including working diligently with our retailers and public health officials in an effort to keep all Red Vines® consumers as safe as possible.

Information on lead poisoning prevention is available from the CDPH website, including places to be screened for potential exposure.

We sincerely apologize to any consumers affected by this recall.  If you have questions or concerns, please call our Consumer Response line at 866-442-2783.

-American Licorice Co.

157 Responses to “Red Vines® Black Licorice Recall Notice”

  1. August 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    My wife and I eat a lot of your Black Licorice Twists. We have four packages with a “Best Before Date” of 11/07/12 and 12/18/12. Are these affected?

    • August 22, 2012 at 5:43 pm

      Craig,

      The only products affected by the current recall have a specific “Best Before Date” of 020413, so the candy you purchased is not being recalled.

      Thank you.

      • August 24, 2012 at 4:44 pm

        WAS THIS PRODUCT SOLD AT ALBERTSON’S IN FLAGSTAFF ARIZONA?

        • August 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm

          Hi John,
          It is difficult to determine the exact distribution of the affected products at this time. We hope to know more as our investigation progresses. Stay tuned in to this page and we will be releasing updates as they become available. Thank you.

  2. August 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Where was the product made/packaged in China?

    • August 22, 2012 at 5:43 pm

      Greeting Cathy,

      All candy produced by American Licorice is made in the US at our two manufacturing facilities in Union City, CA and La Porte Indiana.

      Thanks

      • August 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm

        What countries are the ingredients sourced from? Are any of the ingredients from China?

        • August 23, 2012 at 2:46 pm

          Hi Jen,

          All of our ingredients are either sourced in the US or reprocessed in the US by suppliers who meet stringent FDA guidelines and maintain proper testing of their supplies. Thanks!

          • August 24, 2012 at 12:07 am

            Reprocessed in the US? So, if the flavoring extract was made in the US from licorice root grown in and imported from China that would still count as “reprocessed,” correct? Lead is known to accumulate in root crops after all.

          • August 24, 2012 at 9:16 am

            Greetings K,

            Thanks for your question. I can assure you that all of our suppliers meet strict FDA guidelines and maintain proper testing of their supplies. We are working with each of them to understand fully what may have happened in regards to the batch of licorice being recalled and will be posting updates as we learn them on here. Thanks.

          • August 24, 2012 at 6:07 am

            If the suppliers meet and maintain proper testing of their supplies then how did the high lead content come to be in the candy?

          • August 24, 2012 at 9:07 am

            Hi Kat,

            Thanks for your question. We have initiated a full investigation to learn as much about what happened with the product in question. We can assure you that, while all of our suppliers meet stringent FDA guidelines and maintain proper testing of their supplies, we are investigating thoroughly what happened with the particular batch being recalled. We will be sharing more findings as we learn them. Thanks.

          • September 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm

            So what countries are the ‘ingredients that are reprocessed in the US’ from?

          • September 6, 2012 at 4:37 pm

            Greetings Jen,

            Thanks for your comment. Check out our Recall FAQ at the link below. This may help to answer your question.

            Update on Black Licorice Recall: http://www.americanlicorice.com/2012/08/update-on-black-licorice-recall/

          • October 3, 2012 at 6:06 am

            Jen,

            You need to rethink this statement. If it were true there would be not lead contamination, correct? What was the source of contamination?

  3. August 22, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    today I purchased a bag iof the black vines and checked the date and it is the recall best by 020413. I called Winco and they have not heaard anything about it but said I can return it. I have eaten at least 6 vines. Will I be affected by the excess lead as I am 66 years young and diabetic?

    • August 22, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      Hey Marcia,

      Thanks for letting us know.  Please do return the product to Winco for a refund.  The retailers have been notified, but this is all happening today, so that specific store may have yet to hear the details on the recall. Here is information from the California Dept. of Public Health related to lead in food products: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Pages/LeadFAQ.aspx

  4. August 22, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    My Son LOVE your black licorice, and we always have it for road trips. I have a bag of mixed red and black this time, it’s the family bag. Is this in the recall also? Is it safe to eat? We are going on our road trip in a couple days and I want to make sure it’s ok. Thanks.

    • August 22, 2012 at 6:39 pm

      Hi Tabatha,

      Only Red Vines 16oz bags of Black Licorice with “Best Before Date 020413″ are affected by this recall. The product you have is not affected by the recall.

      Glad your son loves our product and that we’ll be a part of your trip. Thanks!

  5. August 22, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    After reading about the recall I checked a bag I had purchased on 082012. I purchased 1 bag of red and one of black. The use by date on the red is 030413 but the black did not have a use by date. any ideas?

    • August 22, 2012 at 6:43 pm

      Greetings Buddy,

      Thanks for checking in…

      The “Best Before Date” for the Red Vines Black Licorice should be on the back of the package in black ink.

  6. August 22, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Do we know the production or distribution dates of the affected lot? I have eaten two packages over a month or so and are currently pregnant. I do not know best buy dates.

    • August 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm

      Greetings Cari,

      Only the one pound (16oz) bags of Red Vines Black Licorice with a “Best Before Date 020413″ are affected by this recall. The product would have been manufactured in early May. The amount of time it takes for the product to reach store shelves can vary quite a bit depending on the retailer.

      Here are links to the CDPH website with more information on lead in food products, including where you could potentially get screened by a healthcare professional, if you choose to do so:
      FAQ: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Pages/LeadFAQ.aspx
      Contact Info: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/CLPPB/Pages/Contact-CLPPB.aspx

      • August 22, 2012 at 8:39 pm

        Thanks for the information. Do you know if the licorice in question was distributed throughout the continental US, in particular, the east coast?

        • August 22, 2012 at 9:04 pm

          Hi Cari,
          At this moment it is difficult to say for sure the distribution of the product in question, but we’re working hard to learn as much as we can and will share our findings as soon as possible. Thanks.

  7. August 22, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    I, like Tabatha S. just bought a family bag (1.5 lb)of the red and black licorice. Date on back is “best by 2-12-13. These were purchased at a Target store. Are they to be included in the recall as well.
    Thank you

    • August 22, 2012 at 6:49 pm

      Hi Sandy,

      No, only the 16oz bags of Red Vines Black Licorice Twists with a Best Before Date of 02-04-13 are included in the recall. The bag you purchased is not included in the recall.

  8. August 22, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Have you identified the tainted ingredient(s) and the supplier(s)?

    Do you know if any of your raw ingredients originate outside the United States?

    • August 22, 2012 at 8:26 pm

      Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for checking in. We’re working hard to identify the issue and a solution and will be sure to share our findings as soon as we can.

      Thanks!

  9. August 22, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Is this only an issue for California,or were these bags sent to other states as well?

    • August 23, 2012 at 7:39 am

      Hi Karen,

      We’re doing all we can to learn about the distribution about the product in question. We’ll announce the information as we find out more. Thanks!

  10. August 22, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    The date on my 1 lb package WAS 02-18-13. I finished it in one week…What do you think?

    • August 23, 2012 at 7:38 am

      Hi Dorothy,

      You’re package is not included in the recall. Only 16oz Black Licorice bags with the “Best Before Date 02/04/13″ are affected. Thanks!

  11. August 23, 2012 at 12:40 am

    “To our Red Vines® Consumers,
    Yesterday we heard from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) that some of our one pound (16oz.) bags of Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists contained traces of lead that were above the acceptable level for food products”

    My question. Is there really an exceptable level of lead in food these days. A trace? What is a trace? I think that is so wrong. I know people that snack on your black licorice by the bagfuls. What is an acceptable trace? Is it in the packaging or in the licorice itself?

    • August 23, 2012 at 8:03 am

      Greetings Beth,

      Thanks for your question. California Department of Public Health has determined that 0.1ppm (about 0.00001%) is the acceptable amount of lead that can be found in candy. Thanks!

    • September 26, 2012 at 10:33 pm

      Beth,

      I enjoy Red Vines’ black licorice quite a bit myself, but having a basic understanding of nutrition and a shred of common sense, I NEVER snack on it (or any other candy, for that matter) “by the bagfuls.” You need to tell the people that you know who engage in this behavior to stop doing it immediately! There is probably NO processed food in existence that is even remotely healthy to consume in such quantities. Even the healthiest of foods — things like apples, bananas, broccoli, almonds and walnuts — are likely to lose some of their health value when overeaten. A balanced diet is essential to the long term health of every person in the world.

      Yes, there really is an acceptable level of lead in food these days. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates levels for a lot of chemicals contaminants and pesticides in human food and animal feed; see http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/GuidanceDocuments/ChemicalContaminantsandPesticides/ucm077969.htm

      They also have regulations covering MANY things that are commonly found in various foods: rodent hairs, insect eggs and body fragments, mold, excreta (feces/urine), rot, and more. You can find more information on this at http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/GuidanceDocuments/Sanitation/ucm056174.htm

      Unfortunately, lead and many other elements which are not safe for human consumption have been a part of the Earth for as long as it’s existed. For thousands of years lead was used in plumbing, and for nearly a century leaded gasoline was used in cars (though not exclusively) all over the planet.

      If it’s any comfort, the odds are VERY SLIM that any of your “bagfuls of licorice” snacking friends will contract lead poisoning; on the other hand, the odds are QUITE STRONG that they will develop adult diabetes and/or other preventable illnesses, unless they change their ways! Take some time to educate yourself at http://www.nutrition.gov/

  12. August 23, 2012 at 4:21 am

    Are any state besides California involved in the recall?

    • August 23, 2012 at 8:04 am

      Hi Debbie,

      We’re working hard to learn as much as we can about the distribution of the product in question. We’ll post updates as we learn more. Thanks!

  13. August 23, 2012 at 6:01 am

    How does lead enter the production process? I assume it’s not a core ingredient in the licorice; are the cooking vats made of lead? Or the conveyers? I’d guess at this point that ALL Red Vines have some amount of trace lead, but most of it is below the “acceptable levels” and thus deemed fit for human consumption. But how does it get there in the first place? That would offer a clue as to how it can go above the acceptable level and whether it might occur again.

    • August 23, 2012 at 8:18 am

      Greetings Michael,

      Thanks for your question. We’ve stopped all production on our Black Licorice and have initiated a thorough internal investigation to understand where the issue is coming from. We’ll update our sites with information as we know more. Again, thanks for checking in.

    • August 23, 2012 at 10:08 am

      Michael, I ran a bottled water plant for 17 years. We had to do what’s called a HACCP Plan, which means we had to consider all process steps which might introduce a “chemical, physical, or biological hazard” called “critical control points.” So I too am wondering in which of the licorice process steps could the lead be introduced? My guess is that the factory is already a stunningly clean and validated and constantly tested facility, so the most likely introduction for lead is in the raw ingredients. But of course those too are subject to their own HACCP standards, and these will be traced. The one fact being not getting much notice in the news report is that the “out of standard amount of lead detected” is still only twice the mcl (maximum contaminent level) which I have noticed are getting to be ridiculously, vanishingly tiny quantities, I mean, you’re probably picking up ten times that amount just by eating a banana, never mind the background levels present in your front lawn. We can relax and enjoy a piece of licorice even at double the lead allowed; the sugar is what we should be more concerned with in moderation.

      • August 23, 2012 at 10:58 am

        Thanks for your comment and support, Glen.

        Our Quality Assurance team does regular testing of our products and ingredients, and our factories are rigorously inspected and meet all internal and government quality and safety standards. We are doing further internal testing of the recalled lot of candy so that we can learn and share more information. As we learn more we’ll be posting updates here.

        Thanks for checking in.

      • August 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm

        Glen,

        No one can assume it is only low risk adults eating this candy. As we have very recently heard from the CDC with the lowering of the lead level of concern, THERE IS NO SAFE LEVEL OF LEAD exposure. Children and pregnant women are at significant risk. Lead passes through the placenta to the developing fetus, and children’s brain and nervous system are still developing. Lead exposure may cause cancers later in life. Low level of exposure may have different by still significant effects than from higher levels of exposure. By the way, bananas are not a source of lead. -Look for authoritative information CDPH and CDC web sites.

        • August 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm

          Hi Phillip,
          Thanks for your input. Here is some additional information through the FDA. Let us know if you have any additional questions.
          Thanks.

  14. August 23, 2012 at 7:55 am

    What is UPC for this product? Did McLanes warehouses in California receive the affected codes?

    Thank you….I’m QA Manager for 7-Eleven stores

  15. August 23, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Just checked a package of black licorice I recently purchased with “best before 02 27 13″ printed on it and will assume, according to your statements, it to be safe.
    According to the “RECALL NOTICE” and I quote “contained traces of lead that were above the acceptable level” and that you heard this from CDPH. I would like to know, for future purchases, why this was not detected by American Licorice. Is there no department there that is responsible for the quality of your products?

    • August 23, 2012 at 10:26 am

      Greetings Les,

      To your first point, yes, the package you purchased is not included in the recall. Only the 16oz Black Licorice with Best Before 020413 are affected.

      We do have an internal quality assurance department that does regular testing of our products and ingredients. We are doing further internal testing of the specific lot of candy being recalled so that we can share more information with everyone. We will update here with more information as it becomes available to us.

      Thanks.

  16. August 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    How much lead does your licorice normally contain? If it does normally contain some lead, why is it not listed in the ingredients?

    Thanks.

    • August 23, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      Greetings Rob,

      Thanks for your question. Lead is a naturally occurring element on the planet, and as such, tiny traces of the element are present in many foods and beverages including drinking water. The amounts present in most food and beverages, including our candy, are so small they have to be measured in parts per million. The FDA and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) have guidelines about the levels of lead that is considered safe for consumption so that they can ensure safety for the public food supply, specifically for children under six and pregnant women who are most susceptible to health issues from lead exposure. Below is a link from the FDA with more information on lead in candy products. The hyperlink is at the bottom.

      We would not list lead or other trace minerals/elements that are naturally found in our raw ingredients, as we don’t proactively put these into the product. Despite maintaining stringent guidelines around our ingredient suppliers and maintaining regular testing of our ingredients and products, in this instance the CDPH detected trace amounts of lead exceeded those considered safe by the CDPH, which is what prompted our voluntary recall of this specific batch of Black Licorice in the 1 lb. (16 oz.). bag with the “Best Before Date” of 020413. We’ll continue to update here as more facts become available to us.

      FDA website: http://www.fda.gov/food/foodsafety/foodcontaminantsadulteration/metals/lead/ucm172050.htm#healt%22%20title=%22FDA.gov

      Thanks.

  17. August 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Have these been distributed outside of California?

    • August 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      Phillip,
      It is difficult to say at this point how far the product in question may have been distributed. We are currently conducting a thorough internal investigation of the recalled product and it’s distribution. We’ll be posting updates here as we learn more. Thanks.

  18. August 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Hi,
    I haven’t even tasted the black vines yet, but will buy some this weekend. From what I’ve read here, you’re an upfront company that immediately responded to this problem. We need to support American companies, especially when they encounter problems. Stuff happens all the time and it’s how you react to the situation that matters in the end..

  19. August 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    What if I just ate some the other day but have since thrown the package out with the trash and just saw this now?

    I have no idea what the date was on the bag

  20. August 23, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Can I get a replacement Bag I’ll take any size. Do deny me my licorice! the horror the horror.

    • August 23, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      Hey Carl,

      You should be able to return your 1lb Bag of Black Licorice for a full refund if it has the “Best Before Date 02/04/13.” If that doesn’t work, get in touch with us and we’ll make it right. Thanks!

  21. August 23, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    A recently purchased (in the Bay Area of Northern California)four-pound plastic container of REDVINES Black Licorice Twists does not include any reference date. Am I overlooking that date? Was it on the plastic tape that sealed the top? Is this particular batch safe to eat? Is this another sign of the end of times?

    • August 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      Hi Bill,

      Thanks for checking in. Only the 1lb (16oz) bags of Red Vines Black Licorice are affected by this recall, so your 4lb tub is not included in the recall. Thanks and enjoy!

  22. August 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Addendum to 3:31 p.m. posting. The label on my purchase bears the following: #00103. Perhaps that number will be of help in your kind efforts to respond to my inquiry.

    • August 23, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      Thanks, Bill. No problem. Like I said, your 4lb jar is not affected by this recall. You should be fine. Thanks!

  23. August 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    I purchased Black Red Vine Licorice, one pound bag from Wal-Mart in American Canyon, CA. Unforutunately I do not have the bag (since I ate it all) to determine if it was the “Best Before Date 02/04/13″ product. My question is will there be a list of stores that sold the affected product. Thanks.

  24. August 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    When were the licorice twists made? I ate a bag about three weeks ago (on bag over the course of three days). Should I get tested for lead? I ask mainly because about five days after consuming the bag I had two blood clots in my brain.
    Thanks

  25. August 23, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    This sounds fishy to me. Redvines said all vines are made in u.s. with ingredients from u.s. or “reprocessed” in u.s., which sounds to me “reprossed” from other countries. come clean and let us know where your ingredients come from.

    • August 24, 2012 at 9:59 am

      Hello,

      Thanks for your comment. I can assure you that, while all of our suppliers meet very stringent FDA guidelines and maintain proper testing of their supplies, we are working diligently with each of them to understand what issues are the cause behind the affected product. Updates on our findings will be available on this site as we learn more. Thanks.

  26. August 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Hi, I have been mowing down on a 4lbs bucket (I think I bought at Costco) of Red Vines black licorice for a week or so. Ive probably eaten half of them. I cant seem to find any Best Before date on the package. Would you recommend throwing the rest of the package out? Im absolutely addicted to this black licorice!

    • August 24, 2012 at 9:52 am

      Hi Aubry,

      Only the 1-lb (16oz) bag of Black Licorice with a Best Before 020413 is affected by this recall. Your 4lb bucket is not included. Thanks!

  27. August 23, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    I love the black rope pieces in the Family Pack. I know you make red super ropes but where do these black ones come from? Do you make black super ropes.
    It seems as though the family pack is made up of “loose ends” from productions of other products. I would love to be able to but black ropes as well as red ropes by the pound if possible. Ropes are awesome, so much better than hollow vines, CHEWY!

    THANKS

    • August 24, 2012 at 10:11 am

      Hi Man,
      Thanks for your note. We’re happy to hear you enjoy our Family Pack. I’ll pass along your note about Black Licorice Super Ropes to our production team. Keep an eye out on our website for updates and thanks for all your support. We truly appreciate it.
      Cheers.

  28. August 23, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Greetings,

    my wife just showed me an article on this after i returned from the store munching on some of your Delicious black twists…i’m safe on the date, mine were best by January, i’ll munch onward! life long fan and Facebook Liker for you all. I am very impressed and thankful for your diligence and thoughtful/informative honest replies. i understand you can only say so much at this point but i hope that we Uber Fans will be informed of the reason behind the tainting. i know for myself it will not impact my view of the company/product in a negative way to know the truth, only positive. my family loves your vines!!! keep up the great work!

    • August 24, 2012 at 8:42 am

      Hello David,

      Thanks so much for your comment and support. We truly appreciate it.

      We’re working diligently to learn as much as we can about the product in question and we will be providing updates on here as soon as we know for certain where the issue came from. In the meantime, let us know if you have any other questions or concerns and I’ll do my best to answer them.

      Thanks again!

  29. August 23, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    I’ve been eating RedVines black licorice for 60 some years so was a little stunned when I heard about the recall on tonights news. I go thru cravings for your licorice and refuse to eat any other brand which is all I could find as I drove my husband to re-meet his cross counrty bicycling buddies in W. Yellowstone and 3 weeks later to go back and pick him up after 4,400 miles in Florence Oregon. From disappointment of only finding the other brand (yuck!) and had a great binge of two 1 lb bags. I do have 7 twists in the 2nd bag and both had the same 020413 best buy date followed by V1 01:10. Should I be concerned since both bags were consumed within a week?

  30. August 24, 2012 at 3:15 am

    I recently purchased a 5 oz package of red licorice Red Vines at a movie theater in Clifton Park, NY. It was the first time I have ever tried your product. I usually purchase the “other” brand of red licorice. Anyway, the very first pieces my daughter and I tried tasted absolutely horrible. After the movie, I chastised the employees of the theater, saying they should be ashamed to be selling such a terrible tasting product at their establishment. I threw out the rest of the product, but saved the packaging. I am doubtful of any reimbursement, but be assured I will never purchase another package of Red Vines ever again.

    • August 24, 2012 at 9:36 am

      Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for your comment. We apologize for your unfavorable experience with Red Vines. We understand that while millions love our candy, it may not be for everyone. However, we would like to make it up to you. If you’re up for it, go ahead and email us at RedVines@amerlic.com and we’ll see what we can do to make this right. Thanks.

  31. August 24, 2012 at 6:08 am

    The recall notice on the California Department of Health’s website notes that ALL dates are affected. Can you please explain why you are telling consumers otherwise?

    • August 24, 2012 at 9:42 am

      Thank you, Kat. Below is a hyperlink to the release from the California Department of Public Health on their website regarding the specific lot that is in question.

      As you can see, the CDPH notes that it is only the 16oz Black Licorice with Best Before Date 020413 that is affected.

      Let us know if you have any other questions. Thanks.

  32. August 24, 2012 at 7:41 am

    How was it possible for lead to get into your product? Please share the specifics of the case to fully inform potential consumers so they can assess the risks associated with giving it to their children.

    • August 24, 2012 at 8:50 am

      Hi Jessica,

      Thanks for your question. Lead is a naturally occurring element on the planet, and as such, tiny traces of the element are present in many foods and beverages including drinking water. The amounts present in most food and beverages, including our candy, are so small they have to be measured in parts per million. The FDA and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) have guidelines about the levels of lead that is considered safe for consumption so that they can ensure safety for the public food supply, specifically for children under six and pregnant women who are most susceptible to health issues from lead exposure. Below is a link from the FDA with more information on lead in candy products.

      Despite maintaining stringent guidelines around our ingredient suppliers and maintaining regular testing of our ingredients and products, in this instance the CDPH detected trace amounts of lead exceeded those considered safe by the CDPH, which is what prompted our voluntary recall of this specific batch of Black Licorice in the 1 lb. (16 oz.). bag with the “Best Before Date” of 020413. We’ll continue to update here as more facts become available to us. Thanks

      FDA.gov Website: http://www.fda.gov/food/foodsafety/foodcontaminantsadulteration/metals/lead/ucm172050.htm#healt

  33. August 24, 2012 at 8:11 am

    Where (regionally) have these products been distributed? Is this a local or national distribution?

    • August 24, 2012 at 8:51 am

      Hi Jessica,

      We’re learning as much as we can about the distribution of this particular lot of 1-lb Black Licorice bags with the Best Before Date 020413.

      Distribution can be difficult to track, as time to shelf can vary from retailer to retailer. We’ll be updating information as it becomes available to us on here. Please do check back in and let us know if you have any other questions.

      Thanks.

  34. August 24, 2012 at 8:12 am

    My sympathies for the test result problem. Presumably, if the CDPH caught it as part of whatever routine testing they do of food products, we on the East Coast are less likely to be affected than westerners, depending on the vagaries of distribution (mine is from Walgreen’s; my son will check the pull date today). I assume both you and CDPH do full-up analysis of your entire product line periodically, and will now be hyper-vigilant until this incident is in the distant past.

    A classic cause would be having a single water feed line repaired by a plumber who used a stray piece of solder in his tool box. If the scrap was old and lead-bearing, it might be able to contaminate the product, at least while the repair is fresh. Compare this to Washington, DC, which still has miles of pure-lead water pipes supplying older homes. Knowing this, DC uses a different form of chlorine from most municipal water systems, so the antibacterial agent doesn’t erode the built-up inert layer lining undisturbed pipes. Don’t drink unfiltered DC water anyway.

    My further sympathies for the headlines in your trackback/pingback. It amazes me that such wild language gets loose from people’s heads, but you’ll probably always have some of that to endure.

    • August 24, 2012 at 9:46 am

      Thank you for your comment and support, Dave.

      We’re doing all we can to learn exactly what has caused the issues with the product in question and will be sure to update this site with information as it becomes available to us.

      Thanks.

  35. August 24, 2012 at 8:24 am

    I have a 1lb. bag of black twists with a date code of “02 05 13 V1 00:57″. That looks awfully close to the affected 02 04 13 code. Are these part of the recall as well? I have eaten about 1/2 of the bag. They were purchased at Bimart in Aloha, OR on 8/11/12. Luckily, I still have the receipt so can take it back to the store if need be.

  36. August 24, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Just thought that I’d point out that this is not a unique issue. Your competitor (I assume) in NC has also had black licorice recalls (at least twice in the last few years) for elevated lead. Their product in the latest recall has approximately the same code date (looks like a late Feb 13 Julian date).

    Although, I am a QA manager in the candy industry, licorice has not been on my radar, so to speak. Is there something inherent in the ingredients for black licorice that would be prone to lead contamination? Two separate firms, making similar products, have recalls for similar time frames? Some common, but specific material, may be suspect??

    • August 24, 2012 at 10:21 am

      Thanks for your note, Lynn. We appreciate your input and keen insight.

      We’re aware of the incident you are referring to and are examining all possible causes for our specific situation. As we learn more from our internal investigation, we will be posting updates for our consumers on this site. Thanks.

  37. August 24, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Thank you for the “grace under fire” you are showing to everyone who keeps asking the same question. Black Licorice Eaters, if you would only _read_ what the expiration date was of the ONLY batch with a problem in it, more of this man’s time could be devoted to getting to the root of the problem instead of constantly answering the same question over and over.

    • August 24, 2012 at 9:38 am

      Thank you, Jane. We truly appreciate your support. We’re happy to provide our consumers with the information they request and will continue to do so to the best of our ability as we learn more.

      Thanks again.

  38. August 24, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I purchased a 16oz. bag of red vines from a Target store 8/5. I know the recall is just for black licorice, but mine was red licorice. I got horribly sick on 8/6 and 8/7 and thought it might have been the licorice before I heard about this recall today. I threw it out so I don’t know the date. Do you think it could have been affected?

  39. August 24, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Doing a Google search it looks like several candy makers have had issues with lead levels in black licorice in the last few years. From this I’m guessing one of the common ingredients tends to have naturally occurring lead. Do you know which ingredient it is?

    • August 24, 2012 at 11:12 am

      Hi Kevin,
      Thanks for your insight. We’re looking in to all possible causes behind the affected product. We’ll share updates as soon as they become available to us. Thanks.

  40. August 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Did any of the bad bags make it to the Walgreens in Columbia, SC? I have eaten two bags in the last month.

    • August 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      Found the bag from this week in the trash can is was stamped 111312. That came from one Walgreens. Still wondering about the bag from the other Walgreens that I had earlier this month….

      • August 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm

        Star,
        The bag you found is not affected by the recall. Only the 1-lb (16oz) Black Licorice with a “Best Before Date of 020413″ are being recalled. Thanks.

    • August 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      Hi Star,
      At this moment it is difficult to know the official distribution of the affected products. We have looking into and will be updating this site with all the information that we are able to as we learn more. Thanks.

  41. August 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    I routinely have your black licorice vines nightly after dinner, every night – for years. I have no idea whether the recently emptied bags were included in the recall – the current bag I have is ‘best before 01 26 13 V1′. I know your notice says ONLY bags marked Best Before 020413 are recalled. Does this mean (a) The test results on “Best Before 020413″ show positive toxic levels for lead but IT IS UNKNOWN AND NOT TESTED WHAT OTHER BATCHES MIGHT BE – AND THUS THERE IS UNCERTAINTY ABOUT OTHER BATCHES, or (b) ALL BATCHES PRODUCED THIS YEAR HAVE BEEN TESTED AND THE RESULTS ARE _________________ or (c) something more complex than this. The mere fact that only one batch has been recalled says NOTHING about the other batches. Please be specific. Thank you.

    • August 24, 2012 at 5:47 pm

      Greetings Frank,
      Thank you for your comments. First, we would like to say that we greatly appreciate your loyaty for our products.

      These are valid questions that we are working very hard to answer through our internal investigation.
      You are correct that the only batch affected by the recall is the 1-lb bags of Black Licorice with the “Best Before Date 020413.” However, while I apologize that I cannot answer your questions specifically right now, I can assure you that we will be releasing updates as we learn more information about the affected products and the findings from our thorough investigation.

      You can check back here for more information that will answer your questions. Thank you.

  42. August 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    Did the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) test any other lots or products, or only one pound (16oz.) bags of Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists with a “Best Before Date” of 020413?

    • August 25, 2012 at 11:37 am

      We’re not fully aware of the extent of the CDPH’s testing, but we do regular internal testing of all products and ingredients to ensure product quality and safety and have launched an extensive investigation into the root of the problem. We’ve stopped the shipment of all black licorice products until the time that further internal testing is completed to ensure that the problem was specific to this one lot of candy. We’ll update as more info becomes available.

  43. August 24, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    You know, I’m not one of those people who wants to have a “satanic panic” over this, but really… The fact that a supposedly American made candy was tainted with LEAD is ridiculous. Figure out how it happened, tell us what happened and promise us it will never happen again.

    • August 25, 2012 at 11:37 am

      We understand and share your concern. We’re working to figure out how it happened so we can share more information. Thanks

  44. August 25, 2012 at 10:43 am

    We had a pkg of that licorice but have already eaten it and thrown out the bag so we don’t know what date was on it. Any suggestions on what we should do now?

  45. August 25, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    I love your red and black licorice so this is not stoping me from eating it

  46. August 27, 2012 at 8:46 am

    What are we supposed to do with the contaminated black licorice? Is it safe to throw away with the amount of lead in it since we’re told not to throw any sort of battery in the trash because of the lead? Do I take it back to the store where I purchased it, even though it’s more than half gone? Please advise and I hope to see some new info on your website since this has been discovered a week ago and there hasn’t been any updates other than from your faithful customers.

  47. September 2, 2012 at 9:42 am

    How much lead was actually measured in the recalled product? These specific numbers are not posted anywhere on your website or the CDPH website. I can find the level of lead that is considered unacceptable in general, but you need to post how much has been measured in your product for people to better understand the potential risk level of harm. I look forward to your quick response and full disclosure of this critical information. Thanks.

  48. September 4, 2012 at 11:02 am

    i absolutely love this licorice !haven’t been able to find it for 3 months now.got a call from your company a couple days ago explaining about the recall.crave it ! need it !where to buy in my area?

    • September 4, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      Hi Kathy,

      A huge thanks for the support. Stay tuned in to this site, as we’ll be providing updates about our Black Licorice availability when we can here. Thanks!

  49. September 4, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    ALC… Have patience! As you stated on the front page of your website: “Only one pound bag (16 oz.) of Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists with a “Best Before Date” of 020413 are affected by this recall. The “Best Before Date” is located in black ink on the back of the package. American Licorice is notifying consumers not to eat this candy and asking they return to their place of purchase for a full refund.”

    “Our voluntary recall of this specific batch of Black Licorice in the 1 lb. (16 oz.). bag with the “Best Before Date” of 020413. We’ll continue to update here as more facts become available to us.”

    Sometimes you just have to pitty those people who do not pay attention, even it it takes you typing the same thing over and over again… I appreciate you updates and responses, and feel sorry for the Rep. that has to respond back and forth to the not ignorant… but stupid people that just dont read first. Your article explains exactly the information needed, and yet so many fearful people cry out to you with the same fear. But had they read your article they would have been at peace to know there are some honest business’s here in the U.S. Have patience dear Reps for the stupid and fearfull, and may you find the pleasant and patient consumers that… pay attention and therefore live in peace.
    Awaiting your discoveries only if they are needed to protect me,

    A big mucher of the Redvines,
    Having hope for the need not to have to be shared
    by those frighning stupid people out here in the states!

    Take care!
    Ali,K

  50. September 9, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    On 9-7-12 the California Department of Public Health (CDPH)EXPANDED their warning + recall notice to MOST the products sold by American Licorice Company:
    • Black Licorice Bar, 2.5 oz.
    • Jumbo Black Licorice Hanging Bag, 8 oz.
    • Black Licorice Tray, 5 oz.
    • Black Licorice Laydown Bag, 7 oz.
    • Black Licorice Laydown Bag, 16 oz.
    • Black Licorice Jar, 4 lbs.
    • Mixed Bites Hanging Bag, 8 oz.
    • Mixed Bites Bag, 16 oz.
    • Family Mix Laydown Bag, 24 oz.
    • Family Mix Laydown Bag, 32 oz.
    • Snaps Hanging Bag, 5.5 oz.
    • Snaps Theater Box, 4.5 oz.
    • Snaps Tin, 12 oz.
    This warning comes after the manufacturer expanded its August 22 recall because it determined these products may contain levels of lead exceeding the state’s standards. Consumers in possession of the candy should discard it immediately.

    For some reason, this Statewide recall was overlooked on the front page warning of this website.
    See:
    http://www.cdph.ca.gov/Pages/NR12-050.aspx

    Those of us who have, for years, been loyal fans of American Licorice Products are well advised STOP purchasing any of their products.

  51. September 19, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Any updates yet? What is the verdict on the contamination?

    Thanks

  52. September 30, 2012 at 7:09 am

    When will your product be back on the market?

    • October 2, 2012 at 9:56 am

      I can’t provide an exact date at the moment Roger, but we’re hoping that it will be available again soon. Thanks.

  53. September 30, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    I eat a lot of the Natural Vine black licorice. Was this also affected?

  54. October 1, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    What the hey is lead doing in food in the first place?!

  55. October 9, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I have a family member who dearly loves the black vines. WHEN WILL THEY BE AVAILABLE AGAIN?

  56. October 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Hi,

    I really like your red and black licorice. I think I like the black licorice the best. I find the recal information and dates confusing. As of 10-10-12, can you please tell me if it is okay to eat your black licorice now or only certain packages of it?

    Thank you very much.

    Mike Monogue

    • October 12, 2012 at 10:50 am

      Hi Mike,
      Thanks for the support. At this time, all Red Vines Black Licorice product has been recalled. This is a precaution on our part until we can understand fully where the lead contamination stemmed from and are able to release an updated statement about a return of our product to retail shelves. We do not recommend consuming any Black Licorice for the time being. We will be updating this site as we learn more from our internal investigation. Thanks!

  57. October 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    I was wondering why I could not find any black licorice. When will the stores in the 53051area be receiving new supplies. Linda

  58. October 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    I really miss my mixed bag of red vines, please email when it becomes available again!

  59. November 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    I have come to Tucson for the last 8 years from New Zealand and always stock up by purchasing 20 1lb packets as Red Vines is not available in NZ.

    After visiting several shops with increasing consternation as each did not have any of the Black Vines I was finally informed of the recall. Most shops were not aware of the reason for the recall indicating poor information dissemination by Red Vines.

    What I would really like to know is why will Red Vines not ship international as it is the licorice I prefer the most and would dearly love to be able to have it sent to NZ.

  60. November 7, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I guess the world will never know what the true source of the contamination was since nobody seems to care….

  61. November 18, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    I was wondering why is there still a shortage of black licorice, I have been unable to find black licorice here in Central Oregon, I was just curious when the stores would be carrying it again.

  62. November 24, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I at last found red vines black licorice in stock at Wal-Mart. Unfortunately it doesn’t taste the same to me as it used to. After snacking on it several times and wondering if my taste had changed, I noticed that on the front of the bag it said “now more licorice flavor!” Did they reduce the amount of anise in the recipe? It doesn’t taste as wonderfully good as it used to and it isn’t nearly as addicting as it used to be.

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