Needles and nail found in Halloween candy in Mass., NH

MARSHFIELD, Mass. — Police are warning residents after sewing needles and a nail were found inside candy given to children in Massachusetts and New Hampshire on Halloween.

The tainted candy was distributed in the Brant Rock area of Marshfield, Oak Bluffs in Martha's Vineyard and in Salem, New Hampshire, according to police.

"I'm still in shock," said Jim Keating of Marshfield, whose 3-year-old grandson, who is also the son of a Boston police officer, received the tainted candy.

His daughter, who is the boy's mother, found the needles in the candy Thursday morning.

"I got a text this morning from her and she said, 'You're not going to believe this,'" said Carol Keating, the boy's grandmother.

"She said she had needles in her Twizzlers, little sewing needles," Jim Keating said.

Residents should throw away any Twizzlers candy and should inspect all other candy, Marshfield police said.

Investigators are reviewing two packages of the Twizzlers Twists candy that contained the needles, police said. The family said they started trick-or-treating at Allen Street and finished around Tower Avenue.

The family said they did not see a puncture hole in the package. But the needle was so small, the family is not sure they’d be able to see the hole to begin with.

Boston 25 News reached out to the candy's maker, The Hershey Co., to check whether something may have happened on a factory level. The company told us that its food safety standards included the use of metal detectors to screen for potential metal objects in any of its products.

"Unfortunately, product tampering is a serious issue this time of year, which is why it is so important for parents to be vigilant and examine their children’s candy," Jeff Beckman, corporate communications director for The Hershey Co., said in an email.

"At The Hershey Company, we implement the highest food safety and quality standards in the industry to ensure our products are safe to eat when they leave our manufacturing facilities," Beckman said. "This includes the use of metal detectors to screen for potential metal objects in any of our products."

Oak Bluffs Police said there were also reports of a tainted Hershey's candy bar. The piece of candy was given in the area of Vineyard Avenue. A parent filed a report with police after they found a nail partially inside the candy bar after trick-or-treating. The nail had punctured the wrapper and was partially sticking out.

Over in Sturbridge, police later determined that a small metal object found in a piece of candy "was the metal from the child's dental work."

Meanwhile, Halloween is a huge and celebratory event in the Brant Rock neighborhood with lots of families participating, the Keatings said. They said they pretty much visit the same houses every year.

The Keatings said they're grateful that their grandson did not ingest the tainted candy. And they're  horrified that this year, Halloween came to this.

"To think that somebody could put a needle inside a candy is a disgrace," Carol Keating said.

Police in Salem, New Hampshire said a man reported finding sewing needles in several pieces of Halloween candy. The man told police he had been trick-or-treating in neighborhoods off Kelly Road.

The New England incidents are among several reports of needles found in Halloween candy nationwide, including in New York, Tennessee, Illinois, Maine, Washington state and Florida.

In the New York incident, a child bit into a piece of candy and found a needle after trick-or-treating on Wednesday.

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