UK – The United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has warned shoppers to be on the lookout for fake candy bars, as they’ve discovered some counterfeit Wonka chocolate bars in both brick-and-mortar and online retailers across the country.
In a warning published to its website, the FSA warns that the counterfeit Wonka bars could be unsafe because they’re being made by “unregistered businesses” that may not follow food hygiene laws.
In addition, some of the counterfeits analyzed contained allergens that weren’t listed on the labels.
“With Easter less than a month away, it is more important than ever that parents and grandparents are aware of the risks that these bogus chocolate bars could pose to their children, particularly those living with a food allergy or intolerance,” Tina Potter, the Head of Incidents at the Food Standards Agency, said in a statement.
According to the FSA, an authentic Wonka chocolate bar will have an official “Fererro” or “Ferrara Brand Candy Company” trademark on its label. It also encourages any customer who has encountered a fake Wonka to “raise the issue with the retailer” and to report it to the local authorities.
“There is no way of knowing what ingredients are in these bars or what food hygiene practices are being followed by the people making or repackaging them. If you have bought these knock-off bars, do not eat them or give them to friends and family,” Potter added.
However, this isn’t the first incident of counterfeit Wonka bars. In April 2013, boxes of faux Wonkas started to appear in shops throughout the country and, even worse, their labels promoted a golden ticket giveaway.
At the time, Nestle owned the trademark for Wonka bars, and the company confirmed that it hadn’t actually made any Wonka-brand chocolates since 2010.
Some of the chocolate bars were being sold for as much as £3 ($3.92) each, and one Manchester candy shop was fined £6,727 (US$ 8,807) after authorities discovered that it had sold “hundreds” of the fake bars.
Wonka Bars were first dreamt up by famous author Roald Dahl, who mentioned them in his much-loved children’s’ story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. They were then created in real life by sweet maker Nestle, which sold the brand to Ferrero.
The food regulator is still investigating, and is urging the public to help by reporting suspicious bars to shops and to their local councils. Local authorities have also been asked by the FSA to investigate and remove any fake Wonka Bars they find.