SOUTH AFRICA – Richester Foods,  South African sweet manufacturer and confectionery products company, has dissociated itself from reports that a number of kids allegedly got sick from eating one of their products.

This comes after videos surfaced on social media showing a number of young children needing hospital treatment in KwaMaphumulo in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) after allegedly eating Richester Foods’ Xpop Energy Red Dragon.

In one of the videos, a woman was seen holding the lollipop, saying the kids are sick, they are vomiting, and others have lost their eyesight because of the product. She also stated that awareness should be created so that other parents won’t allow their children to consume the product.

Spokesperson for Education in the province, Muzi Mahlambi, said the sweets were bought from a lady who sells them outside the school, and together with the KZN Department of Health, they were probing the matter.

Many people were left enraged by the incident. Taking to the comment section, one user wrote:

“The police and the government will not do anything. it is up to us to solve these problems by mobilizing and doing it ourselves, otherwise sizophela nya, let’s stand up for our communities.”

Another user lamented that the incident is occurring yet to date the mystery behind the noodles that killed kids had not been unveiled

“This is bad. Sweets should not be allowed at schools. If they do, kids must bring them from home. Parents should tell their children to refuse sweets from friends and strangers. Some of these sweets are laced with drugs,” commented a third person.

The management of Ilembe District dispatched an environmental health specialist to the school to investigate the matter and dismissed allegations that some children died from consuming the sweets.

They slammed those sharing videos of sick children on the various social media sites.

“Any allegations pertaining to the death of any individuals in this matter – as claimed in an audio clip accompanying the video – are false, objectionable, and are to be regarded as the work of agents provocateur with nefarious intentions of sowing fear and panic,” the department added.

Richester claims products are safe

In a statement, Richester Foods stated that this is not possible with their product.

“We received a complaint about our product, XPOP Energy Red Dragon, causing severe sickness to children that have consumed it after purchasing it from a vendor shop in Maphumulo, KwaZulu-Natal. We would like to confidently say that this is not possible,” the company boldly declared.

They noted that all the ingredients in their factory are sourced from reputable companies that follow all the stringent health safety regulations as required for the food industry, and in turn they at Richester Foods follow the same regulations throughout the manufacturing process.

“We have been selling the XPOP Energy Red Dragon lollipop since 2017, and we have not had any complaints about this product in the past five years that it has been available to the public. All our products are developed with children in mind, and we ensure that all the ingredients we use as well as the end product are safe to consume by children and adults,” they said.

The company added that all their products are quality checked throughout the process, from receipt of raw material to dispatch, to ensure compliance with not only the South African government’s regulations but also their own quality standards.

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Safety Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food safety, quality and compliance. SUBSCRIBE HERE