THE CANDY MAKERS

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Frohickey, Apr 27, 2004.

  1. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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    THE CANDY MAKERS

    Use of lead-tainted ingredients in some candies made in Mexico raises ethical questions.

    MORELIA, MEXICO – Workers in the Dulces Moreliates candy factory flatten globs of sweetened tamarind and chili paste into long, sticky sheets. They roll them together tightly and cut them into slim, brown coils that look like sleeping snakes.

    Hence, their name: Serpentinas.

    Hair tucked under caps and faces masked, crews nearby prepare the wrappers - rolls of plastic designed with bright orange lettering.

    Serpentinas are popular treats in Mexico and among Latinos in the United States. Orange County's ethnic markets, convenience stores and big chain stores all carry them.

    But there is something dangerous about the way these candies - and others in Mexico - have been made.

    Something about the recipe.
    Tests show that chili powder, tamarind and ink in wrappers all have had levels of lead that can cause brain damage in children who regularly eat Mexican candies. At least eight Mexican candy companies have been penalized by U.S. health regulators for producing candy that tested high for lead. State and federal agencies have issued public- health advisories, forcing stores to pull the candies off their shelves and change their candy- making methods.

    But instead of cleaning their candies for kids everywhere, some companies have made a cheaper choice.

    They sell candies that can be dirty and prone to high lead levels to kids in Mexico. When they make a product for export, they switch gears.

    At the Serpentinas plant last summer, that meant workers scrubbed the candy- making machines. They pulled out stores of more costly, sterilized chili and clean apple pulp. They whipped up a different batch of Serpentinas - still a sleeping snake but without the poisonous bite. Then they wrapped the harmless candies in clear, transparent plastic, minus the toxic ink.

    Same candy, two recipes.
    One tastier, cheaper and often registering toxic lead levels for the Mexican market. The other more bland, more expensive and formulated to pass muster with U.S. health regulators for export across the border.

    Both versions of Serpentinas, and many other candies made two different ways, are sold in Southern California markets, sometimes without the manufacturer's knowledge, an Orange County Register investigation found.

    In the case of Serpentinas, the two versions come in different packages.

    But in other cases, candies are packaged in a way that prevents parents from telling the difference between a clean candy and one that might poison their children.

    And within any given bag of candy, each piece is different. The lead shifts and settles during the mixing of ingredients, so some pieces will test high while others will test lead free.

    As a result, a simple candy purchase becomes a game of Russian roulette.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and California regulators have known about the problem of different versions at least since 2002, internal memos show. Yet, they have not done comparison testing of the two versions, including Serpentinas. They haven't worked with companies in Mexico to make sure the two versions are easily distinguished. And they have done almost nothing to address the problem of these candies crossing into the United States. Over the past three years the FDA, which screens food products at the border, has averaged fewer than four candy tests per month, according to records.

    The Register tested 180 samples of Mexican candy for this series from 25 distinct brands. Eight brands, or 32 percent, had high lead levels.

    For today's story, about 70 candy samples from seven brands were tested because they are made two ways. Some candies were bought in their original Mexican-market packaging. Others were bought directly from distributors and candy makers in Mexico before the candies crossed the border.

    Four of the seven brands measured high for lead in Register tests. In some cases, the lead levels were six times California guidelines. In all of these candies, the levels measured so high that a child's lead consumption would surpass acceptable daily levels, as set by the FDA, with a single treat.

    Register tests of sister products meant for sale in the United States came out clean.

    The few candy makers who admit to making candy two ways point to economics, cultural preferences and different food-safety requirements. Products shipped to the United States have to meet specific standards for filth, food colorings and lead content. Mexico has similar guidelines in some areas but does not have the regulatory muscle to enforce them or to educate the industry. Mexican health agencies lack the resources to license or inspect all the country's candy makers, and candy testing is rare. Mexico has taken action against candy makers when prompted by sanctions in the United States.

    ...snip...

    =====

    Okay, I think anytime now, pseudobrit, mactastic or IJReilly will come along and say that GWBush has something to do with why lead candies are being sold in Mexico (and the US). Let's see... could it be that GWBush is doing it through his buddy Vincente Fox? :eek: :p
     
  2. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    Ah nothing like inventing an argument, assigning it to your opponent and then bashing them with it....
     
  3. Frohickey thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Thats why it has smileys at the end... I'm sure you can think of a good GWBush bashing issue revolving around lead and mexican candy. ;)
     
  4. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    frohickey -- in your idealized, stripped-down fed gov't fantasy, does the FDA exist? or would the market magically make lead-laced imported candies disappear?
     
  5. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #5
    Libertarian Reluctantly Calls Fire Dept.

    Ok, it's Onion satire, but here goes....

    :eek: :D
     
  6. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    The market would take care of it, as all children of people buying said candies would end up with brain damage and/or reproductive problems, therefore terminating their lineage.
    It might take a while, but the process could be accellerated by the complete elimination of a health care system for the less affluent.
     
  7. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #7
    And I'm sure you can think of a good Kerry bashing one. :eek: :D
     
  8. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #8
    I didn't look to the left and thought you were Frohickey responding.

    It seemed only slightly more extreme than his usual extreme positions.
     
  9. wwworry macrumors regular

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    Bush is a lying privilaged frat boy that who has never taken real responsibility for anything he has done. :)
     
  10. wwworry macrumors regular

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    #10
    So bush is a complete dope who has a hard time putting two sentences together. But!
    US sugar subsidies killed the US hard candy producers. Chicago used to have lots of candy makers but sugar that cost 10 times more than anywhere else priced them out of business.
     
  11. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    wwworry, what about posting in the "drunk" thread? ;)

    or at least share! :D
     
  12. wwworry macrumors regular

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    I just wanted to get in on this too. Plus there is never not a good time to mention what a pinhead our president is. ;)
     
  13. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    No kidding... I didn't even get a mention!
     
  14. Lyle macrumors 68000

    Lyle

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    #14
    CMD: Candy of Mass Destruction.
     
  15. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    HaHAHAHA...I bet Willy Wonka is turning over in his grave about this...
     
  16. Frohickey thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Not at the federal level. But there would be 50 different xFDA's, one for each state. xyFDA's for North Carolina, South Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, etc. :p
     
  17. Frohickey thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    My positions seem extreme because you are waaay out in left field. :p :D
    Or are you in the bleachers. :eek: :D :D
     
  18. Frohickey thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Okay, back on topic. What do you guys (and gals) think of the article about lead-laced candy being sold? How about the fact that both kinds of candies are made by the same company but the lead-laced candy is sold in Mexico.
     
  19. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    No, I'm in center-left field. You're in the parking lot outside extreme right field. :eek: :D ;) :eek:
     
  20. wwworry macrumors regular

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    lead is sweet, crazy sweet and maybe that's why they have been acting so strange in Washington DC lately but I would think sugar would be cheaper.

    lead? :(
     
  21. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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  22. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #22
    It's not a new problem. Remember Shakespeare? "Lead on MacDuff"? :D
     
  23. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    well, you ain't gonna find me to the right...
     
  24. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    what is there to think? They shouldn't be sold. Anywhere.

    mexico should adopt stricter regulation and enforce them. We should "encourage" them in that direction, but from the article it seems we already are.

    But then some expert down there is going to claim that the evidence for lead being poisonous is not conclusive -hey! the Romans had lead pipes and they built a pretty freaking empire nevertheless- and pollution standards shouldn't be mandated by law anyways, since the companies will change that themselves after enough people writes them nice letters complaining that their kids became demented and that's why they can't write the letters themselves.
    And there goes the neighborhood...
     
  25. Frohickey thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    Actually, lead pipes probably did not contribute to the Roman's fall. What lead to the Roman Republic's fall is when it turned into a Roman Empire where power was concentrated in the hands of a few (Caesars).

    If you know chemistry, lead intake is via lead compounds that are formed when slightly acidic water dissolves lead. In most places, water is basic, and forms hard water deposits. These would have coated the insides of the lead pipes, like plaque coats the arteries of high-cholesterol people.

     

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