AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Department of State Health Services is warning consumers not to eat certain imported dried plums and products containing imported dried plums because they have elevated levels of lead.
Most of the products typically are sold as salted or candied treats in Asian and Hispanic markets but also are available in other retail outlets. DSHS officials believe the dried plums came from Asia, but an investigation to identify specific sources is ongoing. Test results from the DSHS laboratory in Austin show that the dried plum products or products containing dried plums contain lead levels ranging from 0.11 parts per million to 30.3 parts per million.
Health officials say lead should not be consumed in any amount but DSHS used a U.S. Food and Drug Administration established maximum of 0.1 parts per million for candy as a guide in assessing elevated lead levels in the dried plums and dried plum products.
A list of products and product photographs are available online at: www.dshs.state.tx.us/foods/. Consumers are advised to discard any of the products and to check the Web page periodically for updates. More dried plum products may be added as pending laboratory test results become available.
DSHS is working with the FDA and with health officials in California and New York, where some of the product distributors are located, in an investigation. DSHS also is working with Texas distributors on product recalls.
Officials emphasized that the warning does not apply to dried plums, or prunes, from the United States.
Lead can accumulate in the body over time. Too much can cause health problems, including delayed mental and physical development and learning deficiencies. Pregnant women, infants and young children especially should avoid exposure to lead. People concerned about blood lead levels should contact their physician or health clinic to ask about testing.