California Health Officials Issue Warning About Ginger Candy



Ginger sweets imported from Vietnam, known simply as "Ginger Candy," contain high levels of lead and should not be eaten, Dr. Ron Chapman of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reported this morning. Evershing International Trading, Inc, the San Jose based importer of the contaminated candy, has voluntarily recalled the product, and CDPH is urging consumers in possession of Ginger Candy to discard it immediately.

CDPH analysis shows that the candies can contain up to 0.12 parts per million (ppm) of lead, which is the equivalent of 10.21 micrograms of lead per serving. That level of lead concentration is far above the recommended daily limit, especially for kids. Children under six years of age should not consume more than 6.0 micrograms of lead per day, according to CDPH guidelines.

Diagnosing mild lead poisoning in children can be difficult because the effects are often asymptomatic or can be confused with other conditions, for example, irritability, sleeplessness, hyperactivity and behavioral problems are associated with mild lead poisoning. In more severe cases, poisoning can cause vomiting, nausea, headaches and seizures. CDPH officials say stopping the source of lead poisoning immediately is the most important step.

All pregnant women and parents of children who may have eaten this candy should visit a doctor and ask about the potential need for lead testing, and anyone who sees Ginger Candy for sale should contact the CDPH Complaint Hotline 1-800-495-3232 to report the sighting.

Ginger Candy is sold in a twelve-ounce clear plastic container with a round, off-white label on the lid. The lettering on the label is red, and the words “Mut Gung Non” appear above “Ginger Candy,” which is written in all-caps and block letters. There is also a small green coconut tree on the label. The candy itself is dehydrated ginger coated in sugar, and you can see the yellow slices through the container.

This is not the first time that Evershing International has come under government investigation. In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to Evershing International president David H. Hua, stating that his fish and fishery products imported from Thailand were not up to code.