To our Red Vines® Consumers,

Yesterday we heard from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) that some of our one pound (16oz.) bags of Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists contained traces of lead that were above the acceptable level for food products.

16 oz. of Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists

Only one pound bag (16 oz.) of Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists with a “Best Before Date” of 020413 are affected by this recall. The “Best Before Date” is located in black ink on the back of the package. American Licorice is notifying consumers not to eat this candy and asking they return to their place of purchase for a full refund.

In light of the information, we immediately separated all 16 oz. Red Vines® Black Licorice Twists in our warehouse and have issued a public press release announcing an immediate voluntary recall of this product.

Safety is the number one priority for our company. We are taking every possible precautionary step to make this situation right, including working diligently with our retailers and public health officials in an effort to keep all Red Vines® consumers as safe as possible.

Information on lead poisoning prevention is available from the CDPH website, including places to be screened for potential exposure.

We sincerely apologize to any consumers affected by this recall. If you have questions or concerns, please call our Consumer Response line at 866-442-2783.

-American Licorice Co.

  1. I eat a lot of red vine licorice, when was the licorice made? I am assuming that the licorice does not expire right away.


    • Hi Lise,

      Thanks for checking in. The licorice in question was made in May. Only the 1lb (16oz) bag of Red Vines Black Licorice with “Best Before Date 020413″ is being recalled. Thanks.

  2. Have a question regarding the black vines…I have had some of the 1lb black licorice, but its been a few months back, so how am i suppose to know if these bags had the exp. date of 2/04/13 on them, if i no longer have the bags? How much lead was found in these bags? Do i need to see my family physician?

    • Hi Nicole,

      Thanks for checking in. The licorice in question was produced back in May. Time for distribution to the shelves can vary from retailer to retailer, so it can be hard difficult to say for sure how long it took for the product to get to the store you bought yours from. We’ve initiated a thorough investigation to learn more and will be posting updates here.

      Here are links to the CDPH website with more information on lead in food products, including where you could potentially get screened by a healthcare professional, if you choose to do so:
      Contact Info:


  3. I tried to return two (1) pound bags of black licorice to Rite-Aid in Delaware. They had no idea what I was talking about and looked at me as if I was an alien. I just left.

    Chris Orat
    3 Phyllis dr
    Newark, de. 19711

    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks for letting us know. Please do return the product to Rite-Aid for a refund. The retailers have been notified, but this is all happening very quickly, so that specific store may have yet to hear the details on the recall. Here is information from the California Dept. of Public Health related to lead in food products:

      If you have trouble, please contact us and we’ll make it right. Thanks.

  4. So you are saying that red licorice of that date is ok? I ate red red vines licorice from 2/5/13 expiration and I am pregnant. I’d like to know that the red licorice is ok.


    • Hi Alicia – Red licorice is not affected or being questioned. Only one specific lot of the Black Licorice is being recalled. If you ate the red Red Vines, you’re in the clear. Thanks for checking in!

  5. Therefore, the black 1 lb licorice that I have that is dated 11/6/12 is not affected. Is that correct? Rite Aid in Beverly Hills is one of the few stores that always carry the black licorice throughout the year. If it does affect this batch, when will I be able to obtain my refund? Thank you for setting up this site for all questions and responses.

    • Hi Jan,
      Thanks for your question. Only one specific lot of 1-lb Black Licorice, Best Before 020413, is affected by this recall. Your bag with the “Best By” date of 110612 is not affected and you should be fine. Thanks.

  6. I have 1lb black licorice with 020213 expiration. How do we know it is also not affected? Is it just because that one 020413 lot randomly got caught and the other dates were never tested? Or was this same testing performed on every single date of expiration? I am wondering how a lead issue would only contaminate 1 day.

    • Hi Matt,

      Thanks for your question. While we are doing all that we can in an internal investigation to learn about the affected product, the CDPH has found that only the specific lot of 1-lb bags of Black Licorice with a “Best Before 020413″ are identified as affected. If your bag does not have that Best Before date, then you should be fine.
      However, here are links to the CDPH website with more information on lead in food products, including where you could potentially get screened by a healthcare professional, if you choose to do so:
      Contact Info:

  7. How did the Red Vine black licorice become contaminated with lead?

    • Greetings BJ,

      Thanks for your question. Lead is a naturally occurring element on the planet, and as such, tiny traces of the element are present in many foods and beverages including drinking water. The amounts present in most food and beverages, including our candy, are so small they have to be measured in parts per million. The FDA and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) have guidelines about the levels of lead that is considered safe for consumption so that they can ensure safety for the public food supply, specifically for children under six and pregnant women who are most susceptible to health issues from lead exposure. At the bottom is a link from the FDA with more information on lead in candy products.

      Despite maintaining stringent guidelines around our ingredient suppliers and maintaining regular testing of our ingredients and products, in this instance the CDPH detected trace amounts of lead exceeded those considered safe by the CDPH, which is what prompted our voluntary recall of this specific batch of Black Licorice in the 1 lb. (16 oz.). bag with the “Best Before Date” of 020413. We’ll continue to update here as more facts become available to us. Thanks

  8. What we would like to know is HOW did such a high amount of lead get into your product? Did you source raw materials from China?

  9. Ever since the recall of this one specific date, I can find NO black licorice anywhere. As it was, Walmart had quit carrying it and now Walgreens does not carry it. The prices on line are sky high plus the ridiculous postage. What is up? Has black licorice stopped production at Red Vines? Why can’t I find it? Sue

    • Hi Sue,
      Our black licorice product is currently on hold from being stocked at retailers, but we are working hard to get it back on shelves quickly. We’ll be updating this site when our Black Licorice will be available again. Thanks.

  10. I am trying to find out if adults need to be tested for lead levels. Unfortunately your BLACK Licorice is my habit. Until removed from the stores I would eat at least 1 of the trays per night. When unable to find the trays I would purchase the large mixed bag of red and black vines only eating the black licorice.

    Can you advise?

  11. I eat licorice almost everyday. The last big bag I bought at Walgreens in the GA area. I no longer have the bag so I cannot check the date. Do I need to go and be checked out by a doctor? How bad will it effect me? What do you recomend we do.

    Thank you

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