Should black licorice come with a warning label? According to a lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, consumption of the candy is responsible for a case of heart disease. David Goldberg, 73, is suing the Hershey Company, claiming that his weekly habit of eating "at least one standard size bag per week" of the candy maker's black licorice Twizzlers for years is responsible for his atrial fibrillation that was diagnosed last year, the New York Post reports. After all, the FDA has warned that glycyrrhizin, a compound present in licorice, can cause a variety of heart issues. "[Hershey] knew for years that its black licorice candy posed a health threat" but didn't warn anyone, claims Goldberg, who is on medication and has since kicked the licorice habit, "however his condition has not improved."
At lease one nurse, who is unrelated to Goldberg's case, is dubious about his claims. "One food choice doesn't cause heart disease," RN Emily Clarke of University Hospital in Newark, N.J., tells Today. "It would take a string of poor consumption choices and possibly genetics." And, she adds, the ingredients are on the package — "It's our responsibility to research those ingredients." As for Hershey, which does concede that Twizzlers contains licorice root extract, "We are not going to comment on the specific claims as this is pending litigation." But, the company says, its products are safe to eat. If you're a lover of licorice, check out the FDA's safe eating recommendations here. (Pregnant women might want to stay away from licorice, too.)