I used to love the foil wrapped chocolate gold coins when I was a child. I don’t know why I thought they were so cool, but I coveted them. I was recently sent an email from a friend warning parents not to let their children consume chocolate gold coins, because they contain melamine. Snopes.com checked it out, and the Pirate coins have been recalled in Canada.
Melamine is has been found in Chinese milk powder and is responsible for kidney stones in infants. Although melamine is considered nontoxic in low doses, it is described as, “Harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Chronic exposure may cause cancer or reproductive damage. Eye, skin and respiratory irritant.” The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued the following warning on melamine in chocolate coins:
OTTAWA, October 8, 2008 – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning the public not to consume, distribute, or sell the Sherwood Brands Pirate’s Gold Milk Chocolate Coins described below. This product is being recalled due to positive test results for melamine conducted by the CFIA.
The affected product, Sherwood Brands Pirate’s Gold Milk Chocolate Coins, is sold in 840g containers containing 240 pieces per container bearing UPC 0 36077 11240 7 and lot code 1928S1.
This product is sold nationally through Costco stores and may also have been sold in bulk packages or as individual pieces at various dollar and bulk stores across Canada.
If the original product identity and UPC code is not evident, consumers are advised to check with their retailer to determine if they have the affected product.
Retailers and distributors are advised to stop distributing Sherwood Brands Pirate’s Gold Milk Chocolate Coins and to initiate a voluntary recall of this product. The CFIA will be working with the importers to remove the affected product from the marketplace.
There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.
Although the health risk associated with these products is considered to be low, the advisory is being issued as a result of the Government of Canada’s ongoing investigation into milk and milk-derived products sourced in/from China that may have been distributed in Canada.
The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.
Melamine is a chemical compound used in a number of commercial and industrial applications. Canada does not allow its use as a food ingredient.
Of course, the FDA has taken NO action to recall chocolate coins in the US, claiming Costco did not import any chocolate from China. Sherwood Brands, the makers of the coin candy, responded to the Canadian recall by assuring US consumers:
Please note that we have not had any products containing melamine recalled in the U.S. Immediately upon the issuance of a warning by FDA about possible melamine contamination in milk-containing products from China we began to work with independent labs to confirm our products are free of melamine. Additionally, Sherwood Brands has not received any chocolate in the U.S. from China since the report on melamine. We understand that any product that may contain milk or milk proteins is being tested upon entry by the FDA…If you are concerned about the coins recalled in Canada, please note this was an isolated situation in Canada only. These coins were not sold or shipped into the US market. Those coins were produced before the melamine warning was issued.
Melamine in candy is one more reason my kids won’t be eating any junk candy they get trick-or-treating, whether in Canada or the US. We have a family policy of trading the junk candy in for good organic goodies, that way my kids can still go through the childhood ritual of trick-or-treating without compromising their health.