SACRAMENTO – On February 9, 2022, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced a warning that consumers should not eat eight specific types of dried plum products (also known as Saladitos) imported from China and Taiwan.
Tests conducted by CDPH and the California Department of Justice found unacceptable levels of lead. Consumers in possession of these specific types of Saladitos are being told they should discard the products immediately.
Recent chemical analysis by CDPH's Food and Drug Laboratory Branch determined that these Saladitos contained as much as 33.25 micrograms of lead per serving. Children under age six should not consume more than 3.0 micrograms of lead per day as a total from all dietary sources.
“When Californians go into a supermarket to purchase their favorite treat, they shouldn't have to worry about whether that product might harm them or their children,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “The fact is: Lead is a known public health hazard, and exposure to this neurotoxin can have lasting health consequences. Testing by my office revealed dangerous levels of lead in dried plum fruits and candies being sold at retail outlets across our state. We're directing retailers to remove these products from their shelves, but if you already have them in your pantry, please check to see if they match the products we've identified – and do not consume them if so.”
The affected Saladitos were sold at retail stores throughout California in late 2021 through early 2022. Photographs and the following labeling descriptions can be used to identify Saladitos with elevated levels of lead:
|Product||Packaging Description||Lot Codes||Lead Result||Lead per Serving|
|El Chavito - Salted Plums with Chili||Plastic bag - net weight 1.7 oz - cartoon boy on label||N/A||260 ppb||10.5 µg|
|El Chavito - Dried Salted Plums||Plastic bag - net weight 1.7 oz - cartoon boy on label||N/A||200 ppb||9.6 µg|
|El Super Leon Saladitos Dry Salted Plums with Chili and Chamoy||Plastic bag - net weight 16 oz - cartoon yellow and red lion||20210202||270 ppb||13.01 μg|
|El Super Leon Saladitos Dry Salted Plums||Plastic bag - net weight 16 oz - cartoon yellow and green lion||20210128||690 ppb||33.25 μg|
|La Fiesta Saladitos Con Chile - Salted Plums with Chile||Plastic bag - net weight 1 oz - red, green, and yellow packaging||N/A||240 ppb||9.6 μg|
|Lupag Salted Plums - Saladitos||Plastic bag - net weight 0.5 oz - white, yellow, and red packaging||N/A||1060 ppb||7.42 μg|
|El Leoncito Ponchin Dry Salted Plums with Chili||Plastic bag - net weight 1.5 oz - red and clear packaging with small yellow lion||20211101||280 ppb||8.4 μg|
|Spice and Chili - Saladitos with Chili||Plastic bag - net weight 16 oz - clear packaging with small white label||N/A||630 ppb||18.9 μg|
The California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) would like to recognize its members who contributed to this investigation through their work at CDPH:
- Investigator Lambert
- Investigator Stys
- Investigator Mauldin
- Investigator Maassarani
- Investigator Araiza
- Supervising Food and Drug Investigator Williams
- Supervising Food and Drug Investigator Zugsmith
- Unit Chief Needham
“Thank you to those who investigated this case and worked to see that these products are removed from store shelves. The work that these public safety and consumer protection professionals do often goes unnoticed by the general public, but they are our safety net,” said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona.