Candy Containing Lead Found At Local Grocery Stores

Published: Dec. 16, 2004 at 7:40 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 17, 2004 at 10:49 PM CST
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Lucas-brand candies are very popular among the Hispanic community, so we decided to head to a large Mexican grocery store in Tyler to see if we could find them.

La Michoacana did not allow our camera, so I went inside alone. And indeed, the busy store carried three of the four types of candies banned in Illinois and closely watched by several other state health departments.

There's Super lucas, lemon-flavored Lucas Limon, and Lucas Acidito. But the spicy and sour Lucas Limon con Chile" was nowhere to be found.

The candies come in a powder form. Children love dipping a lollipop into it or just pouring the salt-based product into their mouths. They're also used as seasoning.

I went back inside La Michoacana to ask the owner if she knew the candies had supposedly been pulled from U.S. markets back in August. She said she spoke little English, so we talked in Spanish.

"I'm Julie Tam from Channel 7 KLTV, and I'd like to ask if you know that these candies contain lead and can cause lead poisoning?" I asked in Spanish.

She said she didn't know.

I then asked: "Then what do you plan to do?"

"Remove them," the owner said.

"Remove them from this store?" I asked.

"Yes," she said.

The owner immediately pulled the candies from the shelves and gave me a refund for the ones I'd bought.

We talked to some people who say they and their children like the Lucas candies. They had no idea the harm it can do.

"Will you still continue to buy this though, knowing it has lead?" I asked one man.

"Yes, yes," Jose Jaramillo replied.

"So you don't care about the bad health implications?" I asked.

"It probably is, but my daughter likes it," he said.

But when I emphasized the dangers of ingesting lead, the father changed his mind.

"If there's a problem, I don't buy no more," he said.

A spokesperson for the candy maker says: "Lucas remains confident in the safety and quality of the four Lucas brand seasoning products... Nevertheless, we are aware of the concerns and confusion surrounding the products and made a business decision to stop manufacturing them."

Lucas says it has pulled more than 5 million units of the candies from distributors and retailers nationwide. But it seems, some still are not aware.

Lucas candies are not only carried at La Michoacana. We also found them at other East Texas stores. Anyone who sees any of the four products on store shelves may call the Lucas Customer Care Line at 1-866-LUCAS-4-U.

Julie Tam, reporting.