( AP )- What appeared to be a metal staple was found Thursday in a Valentine's Day lollipop at an elementary school, a day after a woman reported a blade-like piece of metal in another bag of the same product. It has been pulled from the shelves of thousands of stores across the country.
Roughly 20 lollipops, from a bag of Pokemon Valentine Cards and Pops, were seized at Kathleen Elementary School in Lakeland. X-rays determined that only one piece definitely had metal - what appeared to be a staple - baked inside, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.
On Wednesday, Lisa Potter in nearby Mulberry told authorities she found a lollipop with a piece of metal in it in a bag of the same product. The metal appeared to be part of a razor blade, authorities said.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office issued a safety advisory and the Dollar Store chain removed the product, sold in bags of 10, from its more than 8,000 stores nationwide. The Food and Drug Administration is investigating.
Judd said the two tainted lollipops were purchased from different Dollar General stores near Lakeland. He said the lollipops did not appear to be tampered with and it appeared the metal was baked into the candy in China, where it was produced.
"Our children were put at risk of physical injury because of this," Judd said.
No injuries have been reported and it was unclear whether the metal was intentionally placed in the candy.
The sheriff's office said Sherwood Brands of Maryland, which imports the candy from China, was cooperating.
"They are as concerned as we are," Judd said.
Dollar General, headquartered in Goodlettsville, Tenn., also pulled another Sherwood Brands product, Dog Artlist Collection Valentine Cards and Pops, from shelves. A store chain spokeswoman, Tawn Earnest, said no other pieces of metal have been found in the manufacturer's products.
China's reputation as an exporter has taken a beating in the past year following the discovery of dangerous chemicals in products from toothpaste to toys. Last year it announced a series of measures to boost product supervision.