NEWS WATCH: CANDY MAKER ADDRESSES LEAD SCARE

JALISCO, Mexico -- With some U.S. supermarkets pulling Mexican candy off shelves following news reports of lead in some types of that candy, a major manufacturer has been working to convince retailers that its treats are safe to eat. Grupo Lorena, based here, has proposed a manufacturers association to reduce lead levels in candy below the current federal limit of 0.5 parts per million. Mexican-imported

JALISCO, Mexico -- With some U.S. supermarkets pulling Mexican candy off shelves following news reports of lead in some types of that candy, a major manufacturer has been working to convince retailers that its treats are safe to eat. Grupo Lorena, based here, has proposed a manufacturers association to reduce lead levels in candy below the current federal limit of 0.5 parts per million. Mexican-imported candy accounted for $273 million in wholesale sales last year, a fraction of the roughly $15.8 billion in U.S. wholesale candy sales, according to the National Confectioners Association. Octavio Flores, managing director of Grupo Lorena's U.S. unit, Lorena USA, based in City of Industry, Calif., said the candy maker was working with other manufacturers, which he wouldn't name, on ways to reduce lead in candy. "I believe major companies will get quite active in the next few months," he said.