Candy is Dandy, But.....

By Loretta Macktal, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, Government Relations

Capitol Update, April 30, 2004 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

In light of evidence last year that a popular Mexican candy, Chaca Chaca, imported into California showed traces of lead above FDA guidelines, Assemblymember Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) introduced AB 2297, which would expand the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act to require the Department of Health Services (DHS) to regulate the lead content of imported candy and ban any candy that is found to have lead in it at any detectable quantity.

While the bill is undeniably well-meaning, it has a number of problems. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is already addressing the issue of lead in imported candy and has sent out an advisory informing manufacturers, importers, and distributors that the FDA intends to take actions to reduce further potential exposure of children to lead from candy products. With California's current budget constraints and a freeze on hiring personnel in the agencies, this isn't the time for the State to take on a duplicative program to the federal government. In addition, DHS already tests any foods when complaints are received.

Furthermore, this program would be funded by money already set aside for addressing lead exposure under the notorious Sinclair tax imposed on paint manufacturers and the petroleum industry. This fund should not be required to pay for a food contamination problem. This bill also grants funds to unspecified community environmental justice organizations to assist DHS by identifying establishments that may be selling banned imported candy.

AB 2297 is sponsored by the Environmental Health Coalition and supported by the Consumer Attorneys of California and the AFL-CIO. It will be heard in Assembly Appropriations on May 5th. CMTA will oppose.
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