Did "experts" issue a warning stating black licorice causes instant death in "seniors"? No, that's not entirely true: This claim is missing context. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that eating an excessive amount of black licorice over a long period can cause serious health problems, which could eventually lead to death -- for a person of any age.
Experts Warn Black Licorice Could Cause Instant Death In Seniors
The caption read:
This is what the post looked like on November 5, 2021:
An FDA press officer confirmed in a November 5, 2021, email advice from a 4-year-old FDA article that said, "If you're 40 or older, eating 2 ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks could land you in the hospital with an irregular heart rhythm or arrhythmia."
Nancy Cohen, professor emerita of the School of Public Health & Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, agreed in a November 5, 2021, email:
It is possible to die from heart issues due to too much black licorice, but it is not immediate, and, as the FDA notes, one would need to eat 2 ounces per day for two or more weeks. Most people don't consume that much and thus safely eat small amounts, but it is possible to do so. In addition, black licorice can interfere with many common medications and should be avoided in pregnancy. One can get licorice flavor without the offending compound (called glycyrrhizin) by choosing foods with anise instead, or choose black licorice that has the glycyrrhizin removed, or consume red licorice (which typically doesn't have any real licorice ingredients).
The dried extract that we add to black Twizzlers contains a small amount of glycyrrhizin that is far below the maximum amount the FDA permits in soft candy like licorice.
The FDA article concluded with this official warning:
• No matter what your age, don't eat large amounts of black licorice at one time.
• If you have been eating a lot of black licorice and have an irregular heart rhythm or muscle weakness, stop eating it immediately and contact your healthcare provider.
• Black licorice can interact with some medications, herbs and dietary supplements. Consult a health care professional if you have questions about possible interactions with a drug or supplement you take.