Friday, April 14, 2006

AAAAAGGGHHH!! Attack of the Killer Eggs!

Hazardous Egg Reappears on Store Shelves

By Caroline E. MayerWashington Post Staff WriterFriday, April 14, 2006; Page D01

The Consumer Product Safety Commission yesterday issued a safety alert, warning consumers about a candy egg that may be dangerous to children under 3 because it contains small plastic pieces that children might swallow.
The Kinder Surprise is a chocolate eggshell that contains a plastic capsule of small parts that assemble into a toy. Either individually or assembled, these plastic parts are so small that they can pose a serious choking or aspiration hazard to young children, the CPSC said.

The product, wrapped in orange and white foil, is popular abroad but has been banned in the United States since 1997. Even so, every Easter season, Kinder Surprise eggs appear on many store shelves.
This year, the product was spotted in the District at Rodman's Discount Food & Drugs, a discount drugstore turned emporium of international food and electronics. At the request of the CPSC, Rodman's pulled Kinder Surprise from its shelves yesterday. Each egg was selling for $2.29.

"Retailers who are unaware that the product has been banned for sale should remove it from store shelves, and parents should take them away from children," said CPSC spokeswoman Julie Vallese.

Kinder Surprise is made by the Italian candymaker Ferrero Group. Monika Forndran, general counsel for the company's American division, Ferrero USA, said Ferrero doesn't distribute Kinder Surprise in the United States. "If you found Kinder Surprise here, it would be an unauthorized product," Forndran said. "It is an unauthorized product and comes in illegally."

Consumers Union alerted CPSC that Kinder Surprise was being sold in the United States after senior counsel Janelle Mayo Duncan spotted it while shopping at Rodman's. When it comes to mixing toys with chocolate, "there is a long-standing concern that you are confusing a child and may be encouraging them to eat things related to their toys," Duncan said.

She noted that Food and Drug Administration rules bar candymakers from embedding "non-nutritive objects" in their products.

The FDA had no comment on Kinder Surprise, saying it was a CPSC issue. However, in a previous case involving a different chocolate-covered toy egg that contained larger toys that weren't deemed a choking hazard, the FDA approved the product because chocolate fell away from the plastic egg when the foil was unwrapped.
The product Duncan spotted in Rodman's was labeled in Polish, called Kinder Surprise on one side, "Kinder Nespodzianka" on the other. A small circle, less than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, contains the European warning that the product is not suitable for children under 3. The product also has a written warning in slightly larger print that the toy is not appropriate for children under 3 because the parts may be swallowed or block respiratory passages. But that warning is in Polish. There is another warning in other languages, including English, inside the plastic capsule.

Roy Rodman, president of Rodman's, said he has seen Kinder Surprise in other stores in the United States. "I thought the government was allowing them in and checking them," he said. "The minute they told me there was a problem, we pulled these things."

I ate Kinder Surprise eggs all the time when I lived in Germany, Canada, and France. The chocolate is awesome and the toy is usually very cleverly designed. I dont know 1) What parent would be dumb enough to give a very young child a Kinder Surprise egg and 2) What child would actually be dumb enough to try and swallow a large, orange, plastic capsule. I would think that that would be a very good arguement for Darwinism.

Ugh. I guess I will have to continue to depend on my international sources for my occasional Kinder kick. Thank you, my unnammed benefactors, for helping to keep me in illegal chocolate!


At 6:33 PM, Anonymous Anna said...

I've heard of KinderEggs. From an outsider's perspective, having never seen/had/experienced one, I don't get the allure.

It's like a bad version of the commercial (from the 80s, maybe?) where the guy and the girl walk into each other and "Hey, your chocolate got into my peanut butter!"/"Hey, your peanut butter got on my chocolate!" ... "Mmmmm."
(My "bad version" KinderEgg take is "Hey, there's plastic in my chocolate!/Mmm, plasticky chocolate" and "Hey, I had to lick the chocolate off the toy!/Mmm, saliva on my...toy.")


At 9:02 PM, Blogger Ovonia Red said...

Well ,next time I leave the country I will have to smuggle you in a Kinder SUrprise egg. Maybe it's only because I grew up with them, but I am convinced that they are the best candy out there. Ever. THe egg itself has two layers--the inside is white chocolate and the outside is milk chocolate. Oh, pure bliss...

At 5:29 PM, Blogger STAG said...

You'll just have to work your Canadian Connection to get your chocolate fix.

At 10:45 AM, Blogger Captain Disgruntled said...

Canadian toddlers are that much smarter??

Figures--none of them went to Iraq....


At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Anna said...

I must say, seeing the thread on "Killer candy" turn political was impressive. :)


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