On the Good Ship Lollypop

  • by: |
  • 12/22/2005

Bob Goldberg reports in from the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

FDA Moves to Decrease Lead in Candy (AP)

The FDA proposed Thursday a stricter recommended limit on the amount of lead, a highly toxic metal, allowable in certain types of children’s candy. The Food and Drug Administration now recommends that candies eaten by small children not contain more than one-tenth of a part per million lead. That amount of lead does not pose a significant risk to small children, the agency said. “This new guidance level will further reduce an already minimal risk from lead exposure in candy,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach.

For those of you thinking such a regulatory action is a well-meaning public health initiative, think again. I have in my possession the off-label responses of Sid Wolfe of Pubic Citizen and Charles Grassley to the FDA candy action. Wolfe of Public Citizen lambasted the FDA action stating “this is an obvious move by the agency to do the bidding of the junk food industry who wants to boost profits during the holiday season in a too-little, too-late effort to pass their poison off as healthy.” Senator Charles Grassley commented that the lead limit was yet another example of how industry is too cozy with the FDA. “If there really was a firewall between businesses and the agency, the lead would stay in and kids would eat less candy. I am demanding every candy maker send me every sample of candy ever sent to the FDA, every letter they ever sent to the FDA, every lab test sent to the agency and every document in the United States in every household in the country with the words lead and candy in them. In fact, if the word is spelled led, I want that document too. And the same goes for that cute stationery and pencils and toothbrushes with the name Candy or Candi on it.”


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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