Lead found in African spice

State health officials warned people Wednesday not to consume a spice popular in African cuisine because it contains high levels of lead.

The product, sold under the name Ground Akanwu or Akanwu Lubi, is a naturally occuring mineral imported from Nigeria used as a spice, soup thickener and meat tenderizer, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The products, distributed by Nina International in Hyattsville, contained lead amounts ranging from 1 to 18 parts per million.

Nina International has initiated a voluntary recall of the products and is urging customers to return the product to retailers for a refund. Retailers are urged to take the spice off of store shelves.

The products were distributed in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.




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