Candy Linked to Mad Cow Fears on Sale in NYC

A chewy candy yanked from shelves in Poland

because of fears that a main ingredient could have come from cattle

infected with mad cow disease is on sale in New York City stores.

The German-made fruit chew, Mamba, was found in delis and bodegas in all five boroughs, the Daily News reported today.

The manufacturer of the candy, which comes 18 pieces to a 75-cent pack in lemon, orange, raspberry and strawberry flavors, insisted that it poses no health risks. The company, Storck U.S.A., said it had no plans to change the ingredients of the Mamba sold in the United States.

"The product is safe," Storck vice president Tony Nelson said from the company's Chicago office.

New York City Department of Health officials, however, said they would investigate.

No animal or human cases of mad cow disease have been discovered outside Europe. People suffering from the disease experience muscle twitches and dementia and usually die of pneumonia within a year.

Mamba, one of the best-known sweets in Europe, is marketed in 80 countries by the Storck Co., of Werther, Germany. It contains a beef-based gelatin.

Storck began recalling the candy in Poland last week after health officials there banned beef products from countries with confirmed cases of mad cow disease.

Storck said German health officials have certified its beef gelatin as properly prepared for people to eat. The company said it would eliminate the gelatin only from Mamba distributed in Poland.

Brooklyn resident Joanna Nowak said her 3-year-old daughter eats Mamba every day.

"I bought some yesterday," Nowak told the Daily News. "My daughter likes it very much. But this morning I told her to throw it out."

Mad cow disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is believed spread by recycling meat and bone meal from infected animals back into cattle feed. The cattle disease is thought to cause variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the fatal human equivalent of mad cow disease.

Since the mid-1990s, about 80 Europeans, most of them Britons, have died of new variant CJD, possibly after eating infected beef.