Man sues Hershey's, claiming that eating Twizzlers every day gave him a heart condition
A 73-year-man has officially filed a lawsuit against the Hershey Company, alleging that eating one of their products on a daily basis gave him a serious heart condition.
David Goldberg, who resides in Manhattan, New York, says in his lawsuit that by "consuming at least one standard size bag per week" of the liquorice candy Twizzlers for "years", he was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (otherwise known as an irregular heartbeat). He's blaming the candy company for his irrepressible sweet tooth.
Describing himself as a "healthy individual who is not obese", Goldberg says that while he has "has never had any heart conditions," previously, this run in with the twisty liquorice candy has negatively affected his health. It may sound frivolous, but a warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives this particular suit a starting point.
Last year, the FDA issued a warning against a chemical known as glycyrrhizin, which is a sweetening compound which is found in most brands of black liquorice. The FDA encouraged moderation on eating the sweet black stuff, especially if you're over 40. They explained that bad things could happen if you ate too much at a time:
"Days before the biggest candy eating holiday of the year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) encourages moderation if you enjoy snacking on the old fashioned favorite. So, if you’re getting your stash ready for Halloween, here’s some advice from FDA: If you’re 40 or older, 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.
FDA experts say black licorice contains the compound glycyrrhizin, which is the sweetening compound derived from licorice root. Glycyrrhizin can cause potassium levels in the body to fall. When that happens, some people experience abnormal heart rhythms, as well as high blood pressure, edema (swelling), lethargy, and congestive heart failure."
Now, although the FDA warned against eating liquorice for more than two weeks in a row, David Goldberg reportedly ate an entire bag every day for several years. While the FDA also says that potassium levels are "usually restored with no permanent health problems when consumption of black licorice stops," Goldberg says this was not the case for him.
In the lawsuit, Goldberg claimed that Hershey's "knew for years that its black licorice candy posed a health threat." So far, the Hershey Company, which also manufactures Reese's candy alongside their flagship Hershey bars and Hershey's Kisses, have declined to comment on the lawsuit.
"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 is suing the Hershey's for unspecified damages, and at this point it's unclear how much money he is attempting to get.