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Adulterated Candy: Maximum Allowable Lead Levels. Notice of Public Workshops to Receive Information Relevant to the Development of Standards for Lead in Candy Wrappers and for the Naturally-Occurring Level of Lead in Candies Flavored with Tamarind or Chili
The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is the lead agency in the development of standards for the naturally-occurring level of lead in candies containing tamarind or chili. OEHHA is also the lead agency in the development of standards for an acceptable level of lead in candy wrappers. With this notice, OEHHA announces two workshops to receive information from the public relevant to developing both standards. The workshops will be held at the following times and locations in Southern California:
San Diego Area:
DATE: March 5, 2008
TIME: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
PLACE: Sherman Heights Community Center
2258 Island Ave.
San Diego, California
Los Angeles Area:
DATE: March 6, 2008
TIME: 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
PLACE: Junipero Serra State Office Building, Pacific Ocean Room
320 West 4th St.
Los Angeles, California
Chili powder and tamarind are popular ingredients in Mexican-style candies that are sold in California. Data have shown that some of these Mexican-style candies are contaminated with the toxic metal lead. Research has determined that some of the lead in the candies comes from the chili powder and tamarind ingredients. A new law in California requires that OEHHA develop standards for the naturally-occurring level of lead in candies and for the acceptable levels of lead in candy wrappers. This law is intended to help identify candies that should not be sold in California (California Health and Safety Code, section 110552). OEHHA is in the process of determining how much lead in chili powder and tamarind, as well as other candy ingredients, might be due to naturally-occurring lead. OEHHA is also determining other ways lead may contaminate chili powder and candies, include processing and packaging.
OEHHA requests submission of data relevant to its determination of the level of naturally-occurring lead in candies containing chili and tamarind, as defined in California Health and Safety Code, section 110552(c)(3).
“[T]he ‘naturally occurring level’ of lead in candy is only naturally occurring to the extent that it is not avoidable by good agricultural, manufacturing, and procurement practices, or by other practices currently feasible. The producer and manufacturer of candy and candy ingredients shall at all times use quality control measures that reduce the natural chemical contaminants to the “lowest level currently feasible” as this term is used in subsection (c) of Section 110.110 of Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations. The ‘naturally occurring level’ of lead shall not include any lead in an ingredient resulting from agricultural equipment, fuels used on or around soils or crops, fertilizers, pesticides or other materials that are applied to soils or crops or added to water used to irrigate soils or crops.”
OEHHA also seeks information relevant to establishing a standard for the level of lead in candy wrappers. Under California Health and Safety Code section 110552(c)(4),
“‘Wrapper’ means all packaging materials in contact with the candy, including, but not limited to, the paper cellophane, plastic container, stick handle, spoon, small pot (olla), and squeeze tube, or similar devices. ‘Wrapper’ does not include any part of the packaging from which lead will not leach, as demonstrated by the manufacturer, to the satisfaction of the office.”
The following categories identify specific types of information that OEHHA would find helpful in establishing the required standards:
- Types of candy that contain chili or tamarind that are available and consumed in California.
- Ingredients in candies flavored with chili or tamarind and consumed in California that contain lead at levels greater than 10 parts per billion.
- Processes that introduce lead into these ingredients.
- Level of naturally occurring lead in soil in agricultural areas where chili peppers used to make candies are grown.
- Good agricultural, manufacturing, and procurement practices with respect to the production of chili powders and other ingredients in candies consumed in California.
- Methods that minimize the amount of soil/dirt/dust that comes in contact with or remains on chili peppers used to flavor candy.
- Types of candy wrapper that contain lead.
For a detailed description of the information being sought, follow this link.
As described above, OEHHA will hold two public workshops in which information which is responsive to this request may be shared or submitted. Information may also be submitted directly to OEHHA by mail, fax, or e-mail by Friday, March 7, 2008, to the following address:
Dr. John Faust
Reproductive and Cancer Hazard Assessment Branch
Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
1515 Clay Street, Suite 1600
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 622-3185 (phone)
(510) 622-3211 (fax)
Types of Candies Containing Chili or Tamarind
- What are all the types of candy that contain chili or tamarind that are available in California?
- Which candy products containing chili or tamarind are most commonly consumed in California?
- Where are the candies containing chili or tamarind and their ingredients which are consumed by Californians manufactured?
Candy Ingredient Sources of Lead
- Which ingredients in candies flavored with chili or tamarind and consumed in California contain lead at levels greater than 10 parts per billion?
- Among candies flavored with chili or tamarind and consumed in California, what data are available on the composition of the candies (e.g., the percentage of each ingredient for each type of candy)?
- Can and should candies be grouped into broad categories with respect to ingredient composition (e.g., “sugar-based chili candy”)?
Lead in Non-Chili Pepper Ingredients
- What are the processes that introduce lead into each of these ingredients?
- How can the processes be modified to reduce lead in the ingredients?
- How might procurement practices change to minimize lead in contaminated ingredients?
- What do you consider to be good agricultural, manufacturing and procurement practice for each contaminated ingredient?
- What fraction of this lead in each contaminated ingredient do you consider to be naturally occurring because it is not avoidable by good agricultural, manufacturing, and procurement practices?
Chili Pepper Production and Processing
- What varieties of chili pepper are used to flavor candies, and in what proportion are these different varieties represented in candies consumed in California?
- Where are chili peppers grown which are used to flavor candies consumed in California?
- How is lead introduced into chili powders used to make candies flavored with chili?
Introduction of Lead in the Chili Ingredient through Dust, Dirt, and Ground Drying
- What is the level of naturally occurring lead in soil in agricultural areas where chili peppers used to make candies are grown? As defined in statute, the “‘naturally occurring level’ of lead shall not include any lead in an ingredient resulting from agricultural equipment, fuels used on or around soils or crops, fertilizers, pesticides, or other materials that are applied to soils or crops or added to water used to irrigate soils or crops”?
- What are good agricultural, manufacturing, and procurement practices with respect to the production of chili powders used to flavor candies consumed in California?
- How much lead is in soil/dirt/dust that comes in contact with chili peppers used to make powder to flavor candies during their growth and processing?
- What fraction of the lead in this soil/dirt/dust is naturally occurring?
- How much soil/dirt/dust remains in the chili powder ingredient?
- How much soil/dirt/dust could be removed from the chili by current washing practices?
- How can these practices be improved to ensure chili ground into chili powder ingredient is thoroughly washed before grinding?
- What other methods besides ground drying are used to dry chili peppers and prepare chili before they are ground into a powder, for example what other methods are used in Mexico, the United States and Europe?
- Which of these methods are best in terms of minimizing the amount of soil/dirt/dust that comes in contact with the chili peppers or ultimately remains in the chili ingredient used to flavor candy?
Introduction of Lead in the Chili Ingredient through Processes Other Than Ground Drying
- What processes other than drying of chili introduce lead into the chili ingredient in candy?
- How can the processes be modified to reduce lead in the chili ingredient?
- How might procurement practices change to minimize lead in contaminated ingredients?
- What do you consider to be good agricultural, manufacturing and procurement practice to reduce lead in chili from this process?
- What fraction of this lead in this manner do you consider to be naturally occurring as defined in statute (see above)?
- What types of candy wrapper contain lead?
- What data are available on the leaching of lead from candy wrappers onto candies?
- What data are available on the leaching of lead from candy wrappers onto hands or mouth?