Got Lead? Discover the Contamination in Mexican Candy”

Introduction to Mexican Candy

Mexican culture has been celebrated for its vibrant flavors and unique cuisine for centuries. From sweet and savory spices to delectable desserts, Mexican cuisine is full of flavor and personality. Among its most beloved treats are Mexican candies, which come in a variety of shapes, sizes, flavors, and textures.

Mexican candy can be traced back to the Aztecs, Maya, and other early tribes that lived in Central and South America. They mixed honey or corn syrup with ground cacao beans to make a paste, which was later used as a currency to buy goods, such as feathers or shells. This paste evolved over the centuries to become a favorite treat of Mexicans from all social classes.

Today, Mexican candy is enjoyed around the world and comes in many flavors and styles, from hard brittle to gooey gummy candies. Chiles and tamarind are some of the more popular flavors found in Mexican candy, although other flavors like mango, pineapple, coconut, and jelly are also available. Some of the most popular Mexican candy includes “paletas,” “palanqueta,” and “limoncillo.”

Mexican candy has a rich and diverse history. The candy making tradition was introduced to Mexico by Spanish colonizers and has become an intrinsic part of the culture. Popular types of Mexican candy include churros, dulce de leche, alfajor, sugar shields, Mazapan, polvorones, and many more. Each type of candy offers its own unique flavor combinations. For example, churros are fried dough in various shapes typically covered with or filled with sugar, chocolate, honey, or other sweet fillings; dulce de leche is a type of candy made from milk and sugar; alfajor is a biscuit filled with jam and coated with chocolate; and sugar shields are soft and chewy sugar lollipops, often in bright colors.

These traditional Mexican sweets are a popular way to celebrate and enjoy special occasions. From birthdays to weddings to holidays, Mexican candy is a mainstay of the celebration. In addition to enjoying them as an occasional treat, many people use Mexican candies in their cooking, adding creative flair to the dishes. The flavors and textures of Mexican candy are integral to the cuisine.

In recent years, the industry has been rocked by multiple scandals due to the presence of lead in some Mexican candy products. This has led to increased scrutiny of manufacturing processes and production regulations. Consumers should take precautions when purchasing Mexican candy to ensure that it is safe and free of contamination. Read on to learn more about lead contamination in Mexican candy and how to identify and avoid contaminated products.

Quality Control in Mexico

Mexico, like many countries, conducts strict inspections and applies regulatory standards to ensure the safety of its food imports and exports. In order to be imported or exported to other countries, food must meet certain criteria. This criteria includes testing for contaminants such as lead, evaluating nutritional value, and confirming that product labels are accurate and honest.

The Mexican government also sets limits on the amount of lead that is allowed in food products. These limits are set based on the type of product, with some being strictly capped and others falling within a range that is considered safe. Additionally, all food producers must follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) in order to ensure that their products are free from contamination and safe for consumers.

In order to protect consumers, Mexican regulators conduct regular inspections of food production facilities and test the final products before they are sold. Any food that is found to exceed acceptable levels of lead contamination is recalled and removed from the market.

Lead Contamination in Candy

Candy from Mexico has long been enjoyed and celebrated for its unique flavors, colors, and textures, but did you know it can sometimes contain lead? Recent tests conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have revealed that certain types of Mexican candy can contain lead levels that exceed the maximum allowable limits. Lead is a naturally occurring chemical that can be found in the environment, but when consumed in large amounts it can cause serious health problems.

Lead can enter candy during production or storage, from residues found in containers used to make the candy, or through contaminated ingredients such as cocoa powder or cornstarch. Studies have shown that lead contamination levels can vary from batch to batch of Mexican candy, depending on where it was produced and how it was stored.

Consuming a small amount of lead is not harmful, however, ingesting large amounts of lead can be very dangerous. Lead can damage the nervous system, cause learning and behavioral problems, and even lead to death. In particular, children are especially vulnerable to the effects of lead poisoning because their bodies are still developing.

Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to avoid consuming too much lead from Mexican candy. Be sure to check product labels and recall notices before purchasing candy, and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about lead consumption and your health.

Long-Term Effects of Eating Lead

In the long-term, consuming lead can cause serious health problems. The effects of lead are cumulative and become more damaging the longer lead is present in the body. Children are particularly vulnerable to the health risks associated with lead exposure as even small amounts of lead can have a negative impact on development and growth.

Chronic exposure to lead can cause neurological damage, including impaired cognitive abilities and decreased IQ. It can also lead to mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Long-term lead consumption may also be associated with kidney damage, reproductive problems, and an increased risk of developing certain cancers. In some cases, lead exposure can even lead to death.

Although most Mexican candies may not contain high levels of lead, it is important to recognize the potential health risk of chronic lead consumption and take steps to reduce exposure.

Recalls and Product Warnings

When buying Mexican candy, it’s important to be aware of product recalls and product warnings that may be issued due to lead contamination. Most Mexican candies have labels in both English and Spanish, listing ingredients and other information about the product. Consumers should always check the label before purchasing any food item, including Mexican candy.

If a candy item is found to contain high levels of lead, a recall is usually issued. In the event of a recall, suppliers must stop selling the product and must provide consumers with an information sheet on the risks of lead in the food item. Consumers can contact the manufacturer or supplier directly for more information about the safety of a particular product.

Consumers can also look for warning symbols on Mexican candy packaging, which may indicate the presence of lead in the product. Warning symbols may include a yellow caution sign with the words “Contiene Plomo” (which means contains lead) printed beneath it. If this symbol appears on the packaging, it is wise to avoid purchasing it.

In addition, consumers can check Mexico’s General Health Law (Ley General de Salud) which is updated annually. This law states the maximum allowable level of lead in food products and is available online. Consumers should check this resource when purchasing Mexican candy or any other food item.

Tips for Avoiding Lead Contamination

When it comes to Mexican candy, there are some simple steps you can take to avoid lead contamination. It is important to understand that lead can occur in any food product, and it is not always easy to know which products may be contaminated. Here are a few tips for avoiding lead contamination in Mexican candy:

  • Check the nutrition facts label: The label will show if the product contains lead or other heavy metals. Look out for “high” or “very high” levels of lead on the label.
  • Buy from trusted brands: Buy Mexican candy from brands that you know and trust. Read customer reviews and do research before making a purchase.
  • Avoid cheap imported candy: There is a higher risk of lead contamination in imported candy. Stick to brands that produce their candy in Mexico and have stringent quality control procedures in place.
  • Avoid buying candy online: Buying candy online increases the risk of contamination because it bypasses traditional food safety regulations.
  • Check the expiration date: Always check the expiration date or “best by” date before buying a product. Candy that is old or past its expiration date is more likely to contain lead.

By following these simple tips, you can reduce your risk of eating contaminated candy and ensure you are enjoying the traditional Mexican treats that you love.

Alternatives to Mexican Candy

Mexican candy is a delicious treat that many people look forward to trying when visiting the country. However, due to lead contamination, it can also be dangerous for human health. Thankfully, there are plenty of alternatives for those looking for a safe and tasty treat.

One option is to choose fruit-based Mexican candy. These products are often made with natural ingredients, such as mangoes or guavas. Mexican licorice is also a popular and safe choice, as it is made from sugar cane. Chocolate and tamarind are two other great choices for those who want to enjoy sweet Mexican treats without the risk of lead contamination.

If you are looking for savory snacks, consider items such as churros, gorditas, and pan dulce. These are all traditionally made in Mexico with no added lead, and they are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of hot chocolate or cafe de olla.

Finally, there are a variety of Mexican drinks such as horchata and atole that can be enjoyed as a delicious snack or dessert. Both are typically made with natural ingredients such as rice, milk, and sugar, and are completely free of lead.

For those looking for a taste of Mexico without the worry of lead contamination, there are plenty of options to choose from. From fruit and licorice candies to savory snacks and traditional drinks, you can find something that will satisfy your craving and keep you healthy and safe.


Mexican candy can be a delicious and unique treat. However, it is important to be aware of the risk of lead contamination present in some Mexican candy products. Consumers should pay attention to product labels, understand recalls, and opt for types of Mexican candy that do not contain lead whenever possible.

For more information, the FDA website has additional resources about lead contamination and food safety regulations. Additionally, consumer groups like Safe Tables Our Priority have resources to help consumers make informed decisions about the food they buy and eat.

Mexican candy has been an important part of the culture and cuisine of Mexico for hundreds of years. Many varieties of Mexican candy are popular across the country, including lollipops, gummy candies, chiclets, jellies, and Mexican chocolate. It is important to understand that Mexican candy can potentially contain harmful levels of lead, which can have serious health risks.

In this guide, we will discuss the history of Mexican candy, the current quality control regulations in Mexico that aim to ensure the safety of food products, how lead contamination can enter Mexican candy, the long-term effects of eating lead, how to identify contaminated products, warnings about recalls and product labels, and tips for avoiding lead contamination. Lastly, we will provide suggestions for alternative Mexican candy products that are safe to consume.

It is important to be aware of the potential dangers posed by lead in Mexican candy, but with the right information and caution, it is possible to enjoy Mexican candy without facing health risks.

Does Mexican Candy Have Lead?

  • Q: What is Mexican candy?
    A: Mexican candy is sweet treats made with a variety of ingredients, typical of the country’s culture and cuisine. Common ingredients include chiles, condensed milk, tamarind, rice or coconut milk, cocoa beans, fruits, nuts, and sugar. Traditional sweets include alfajor, Mazapan, leche quemada, and cocadas.
  • Q: What is the history of Mexican candy?
    A: Mexican candy has a long history. It’s believed to have originated with what the Aztecs ate, since Indians cultivated many of the local ingredients used to create the traditional snacks. The popularity of the candies continued in the mid-1500s when it is imagined Spanish conquerors brought ingredients such as sugar, honey, almonds, etc.
  • Q: Are there regulations that govern the quality control of Mexican candy?
    A: Yes, quality control regulations govern food imports and exports in Mexico. All products must meet certain requisites before leaving the producing factory. Consequently, Mexican candy is subject to strict quality controls, including the obligatory use of FDA approved dyes, additives, preservatives, and packaging materials.
  • Q: Is there lead contamination in Mexican candy?
    A: Yes, some Mexican candy products have been found to contain lead levels above what is considered safe. Lead can be present in Mexican candy due to the process of manufacturing, or by accidental contamination during storage or transport.
  • Q: What are the effects of eating lead?
    A: Eating lead can have a range of damaging effects on human health. It can cause severe neurological and gastrointestinal damage, as well as difficulty sleeping, night terrors, headaches, and elevated blood pressure. In children, lead poisoning can cause stunted growth, behavioral changes, and learning difficulties.
  • Q: What should customers do if they find their candy is contaminated with lead?
    A: Customers that find their candy is contaminated with lead should immediately stop consuming it and contact the manufacturer to arrange for the product to be recalled.
  • Q: Are there alternatives to Mexican candy?
    A: Yes, there are a number of alternatives to Mexican candy, such as coconutty chocolate bars, tamarind twists, guava bonbons, sweet plantains, and caramelized popcorn. These snack options represent a variety of Mexican flavors and may contain less sugar and calories than typical candies.

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