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Lead found in brand of locally-sold licorice

The City of Kansas City, Mo., Health Department is warning consumers to avoid “Lucky Country Aussie Style Soft Gourmet Natural Flavor Black Licorice” due to elevated levels of lead discovered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The product was manufactured in North Carolina and distributed in Costco stores. Staff at local Costco stores told the Health Department that the Costco Corporate Office has notified their stores of this recall, and they are pulling the product.

Lucky Country has recalled this product in 15 states, not including Missouri or Kansas. However, a Lucky Country spokesperson said they would expand the recall to include Missouri.

The recall is limited to black licorice candy in a plastic 1.5-pound bag. The front of the bag contains the words “Lucky Country Aussie Style Soft Gourmet Black Licorice.” The package also says “All Natural” on the front and a picture of a yellow kangaroo.

Lead is a toxin that can cause permanent damage to many parts of the body, including the kidney, cardiovascular, reproductive, brain and nervous systems. While most people with lead poisoning do not have visible symptoms, some may complain of stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, weakness in the arms and legs, irritability and memory loss.

The Health Department recommends that anyone who has been eating the recalled product to immediately stop using it. Any child or pregnant woman should receive a blood lead test. The Health Department offers free blood lead tests for Kansas City, Mo., residents. Schedule an appointment for a lead test by calling (816) 513-6048.

For more information on childhood lead poisoning prevention, visit the Health Department Web site at

Media inquiries about this topic should be directed to the Health Department, (816) 840-2548 (pager).

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