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May 2, 2013 08:38 AM

lead in candied ginger?

The state of California is suing Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Target and other retailers and candy makers, claiming the companies have exposed consumers to illegal lead levels in their candied plum and ginger products.

Read more:

I love the TJ's candied ginger but maybe will start making my own?
no news about how much lead & why in food.

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  1. Great...I've bought nearly all the product brands mentioned by name in the article.

    Is fresh ginger safe? I can see the next generation of kitchen makeovers are going to include a science lab so people can first test their fresh ingredients and product brands out before consuming.

    Until the lawyers report how the lead got in the ginger, how does a consumer respond except to avoid those products and wait...

    5 Replies
    1. re: HillJ

      the reports don't say how much so hopefully it's a small amount. is it from the soil or maybe screens the ginger is dried on? I have seen some recipes so maybe will try to replicate. Ginger people is from China but TJ's is from Thailand, does that make a difference? I hope more details are released.

      1. re: HillJ

        a few interesting links from 2012:

        The lead was coming from a variety of sources: the ink in the candy wrappers, the glaze in some containers, and unwashed chili peppers that had accumulated lead dust in the fields.

        "Researchers don't know how lead is getting into the candy, but suspect it is coming from lead particles in the air or lead paint at the factory"

        1. re: Michigan Mishuganer

          Thanks MM, I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for info now. I have a bag of the TJ's loose in the bag right now. I'm half tempted to send it out for testing myself.

          1. re: HillJ

            maybe they'll post results of testing, have not found anywhere yet.
            there was a previous problem w/ ginger & fda in 2011

            1. re: Michigan Mishuganer

              Yes I remember that thread on the other issue TJ's claimed: Naturally occuring sulfites??? And TJ's took the product off their shelves for some time.

              However, this time it's a longer list of retailers and producers of ginger products. No mention of it on The Ginger People site for instance. I enjoy all forms of ginger and I've probably gobbled lbs & lbs in my lifetime. It would be really helpful to know where the lead is actually coming from and how the lead was found-what prompted testing. Given the origins of ginger and its production into the candy/dry goods market...why freak me out (lawyers!!) before having real facts to share. None of the products mentioned have been pulled off the shelves. Isn't that odd?!

      2. oh as a small aside, I love your screen name.

        1 Reply
        1. re: HillJ

          thanks! will have to change it if i ever move!

        2. I buy candied Ginger at a supermarket chain here called Sprouts. Thery specialize in natural and organic foods. Their product is packaged in small clear containers and most of the things they sell that way are also available in bulk. I haven't noticed any brand name or supplier on the weight/price labels so, hopefully, there's is OK.......... but they must be buyingit from some major supplier, so....???

          1. While in TJ's the other day I asked the Mgr. about the ginger issue. He said the stores have been instructed to tell customers that NO RECALLS have been ordered and this news report is being investigated. I counted 47 individual ginger products in the store; including many I have consumed over the years.

            What do you make of that?

            9 Replies
            1. re: HillJ

              Ginger candy has been pulled from the local Tj's here just outside of Boston.

              1. re: shaebones

                Interesting. I wonder why the difference. When did you go?

                None of the ginger products at the TJ's in Shrewsbury NJ were pulled off shelves as of this past Saturday and no signs appeared anywhere and more importantly the Mgr. provided the info I posted above. I specifically went there to fact check.

                  1. re: shaebones

                    I think I'll make another call, thanks.

                    1. re: HillJ

                      they still have ginger at my local tjs.
                      as of a few days ago still no details about level of lead in products, if it's so bad why won't they say how much is in ginger?

                      "Attorney General Kamala Harris' office says laboratory tests found lead in the products, but didn't note in the lawsuit how much was found. It also didn't respond to a request by the Associated Press seeking that information."

                      1. re: Michigan Mishuganer

                        Companies named in lead-tainted foods suit

                        99 Ranch Market: Red Lantern Plum Candy, Sliced Sweet Ginger, Sweet and Sour Prune, Sweet Fruit Dried Plum, Dried Plum, Dried Seedless Plum, Kan Rose Plum, Preserved Plum
                        Food Market: The Ginger People Baker's Cut Crystallized Ginger Chips
                        Island Pacific Supermarket: Dried Salted Prune
                        JFC International: Dynasty Sugar Ginger
                        Kam Lee Yuen: Ginger Candy, Plum Candy, Red Plum Candy
                        Lion Supermarket: Sweet Fruit Ginger, Seedless Plum, Sweet Fruit Sweet Plum, Sweet Fruit Dried Plum
                        Marina Food: Sweet Fruit Ginger, Sweet Fruit Licorice Lemon Ginger
                        Reed's: Reed's Crystallized Ginger
                        Target: Archer Farms Crystallized Ginger
                        Trader Joe's: Uncrystallized Candied Ginger
                        Whole Foods Market: The Ginger People Baker's Cut Crystallized Ginger Chips, Whole Foods Bulk Ginger

                        1. re: Michigan Mishuganer

                          Mine too. No new news on any of the products. The Ginger People product line hasn't said anything about this announcement.

                          1. re: HillJ

                            I have two boxes of Gin-Gins (the ginger people) and a tub of crystallized ginger from fairway in the house I'm afraid to eat any of it. I hate to think about how much I have already consumed .

                            1. re: chowdom

                              Right there with you chowdom! I have those too, Gin-Gins are terrific for a sore throat. I go thru a good deal of crystallized ginger myself. I also have coconut ginger candies wrapped in a shinny cellophane from the Asian market that I'm wondering about...ugh!

              2. How does lead get into candied ginger?