Happy Easter! Ok, this might only be food policy in the most removed sense, but I discovered shocking news the other day, and it is extremely topical today:
Did you know that chocolate surprise eggs (such as the ones produced by Kinder) are outlawed in the United States? Apparently, the sale and import of the eggs has been banned in the U.S. since 1938. Each year, more than 60,000 eggs are seized at the U.S. border, and the unlucky smugglers can get penalties of up to $2,500 per egg. Sometimes they are even detained. Say what?
According to this article, the ban came about because the concept of the eggs contravenes the 1938 Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act of the Food and Drug Administration, which prohibits “non-nutritive (inedible) object inside a candy.” Furthermore, there is a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s requirement that candy-encased toys be safe for children of all ages, whereas Kinder surprise egg toys are only safe for children of 3 years and up.
Fortunately (if your childhood was as intrinsically linked to chocolate surprise eggs as mine), a New Jersey company has found a way around the rules and made a “Chocolate Treasure” egg in which the seam of the toy encasement is clearly visible from the outside so American children don’t decide to swallow it whole.
The whole situation gave rise to humorous news headlines such as “American Children Finally Deemed Smart Enough to Eat Kinder Eggs“, which made me wonder – is the US alone in its restrictions? Apparently yes – the Wikipedia page says that “Kinder Eggs are sold all over the world excluding the United States, because of the choking hazard”.
Then my second question was – are there any grounds for the American concern? In fact, worldwide at least six children have choked to death on the toys encapsulated in the egg, of which three had lived in the UK at the time, prompting parents to lobby for a ban in the EU as well. However, when the issue came up in the House of Commons, it was argued that since the children had choked on the small toy parts (they usually need to be assembled), “if we were to start banning every product that could be swallowed by a child, there would be very few toys left in the market.“
Do you know (and love) Kinder surprise eggs? Or have you sadly been excluded from enjoying them because of these food safety regulations? What is your take?
Bonus: This is a sweet story of an American guy proposing with a (presumably contraband) Kinder egg to his girlfriend. Just for this story alone I would argue the US should allow the real deal egg into the country. 😉