A 73-year-old New York man has filed a lawsuit against the Hershey Company, alleging that their Twizzlers black licorice candy contributed to his heart condition.
In 2017, the FDA issued a warning against glycyrrhizin, a sweetening compound that is found in black licorice. The federal agency claims this ingredient can lower potassium levels which can lead to heart problems, and warns adults over 40 that “eating 2 ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks could land you in the hospital with an irregular heart rhythm or arrhythmia.”
The New York Post first reported that David Goldberg, a Manhattan resident, has been “consuming at least one standard size bag per week” for “years,” according to Manhattan Supreme Court documents.
The lawsuit claims that Goldberg is a “healthy individual who is not obese” and “has never had any heart conditions,” according to the Post, but had recently been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat.)
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Though the FDA claims that potassium levels are “usually restored with no permanent health problems when consumption of black licorice stops,” Goldberg claims that has not been the case for him.
In a statement to PEOPLE, the Hershey Company says: “We are not going to comment on the specific claims as this is pending litigation, but all of our products are safe to eat and formulated in full compliance with FDA regulations, including the agency’s regulation affirming the safety of licorice extract for use in food.”
Goldberg’s lawsuit, though, claims that the company has failed to warn customers of the dangers of black licorice and that they “knew for years that its black licorice candy posed a health threat.”