NEW YORK — A candy sold in New York City and other areas of the country after it was pulled from store shelves in Poland in a scare over "mad cow" disease is safe, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.
FDA spokesman Brad Stone said the agency had contacted the manufacturer of the Mamba fruit chew and was "able to ascertain that they did have certification that they were in compliance" with U.S. food safety regulations and requirements.
"There should be no problem with the product," Stone said.
New York City officials began looking into sales of the candy because one of its ingredients might have been made from beef in a country that had an outbreak of "mad cow" disease.
The distributor of the candy, made in Germany, insisted it poses no health risks even though it contains a beef-based gelatin. The U.S. distributor, Storck U.S.A., said there were no plans to change the ingredients of Mamba fruit chews sold in this country.
"The product is safe," Storck Vice President Tony Nelson said from the company's Chicago office. The company said German health officials have certified its beef gelatin as properly prepared for human consumption.
Germany discovered its first case of "mad cow" disease last year and at least 18 animals have been found infected subsequently.
Storck recalled the candy in Poland last week after health officials there banned beef products from countries with confirmed cases of "mad cow" disease.
The company said it would eliminate the gelatin only from Mamba distributed in Poland.
"Mad cow" disease is believed spread through livestock feed made from infected animals.
As a precaution, the U.S. government has banned cows and sheep from being given feed made from animal parts.
The human version of the disease, called new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob syndrome, has killed about 80 Europeans since the mid-1990s, mostly in Britain. The disease first appeared in 1984 in a cow in Britain thought to have eaten feed that included offal from sheep that harbored scrapie, a similar illness.