The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued a warning to consumers against eating counterfeits of Ferrero’s popular “Wonka Bars’ being sold in stores and online, writes Neill Barston.
According to the organisation, there had been a ‘sharp rise’ in sales of items passed off as genuine products – with concerns that they may be unsafe to eat and produced by individuals who could be contravening food hygiene, labelling and traceability legislation.
It is feared by authorities that the fake bars have attempted to fool customers through packaging ‘knock-off’ chocolate in genuine wrapping, with investigations now ongoing.
Significantly, some counterfeit Wonka Bars removed from sale have been found to contain allergens which weren’t listed on the label, posing a major health risk to anyone who suffers from a food allergy or intolerance.
Tina Potter, Head of Incidents at the Food Standards Agency, said: “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.
“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.”
Any Wonka-branded chocolate which does not feature the official ‘Ferrero’ or ‘Ferrara Candy Company’ trademarks on the label is likely to be a counterfeit product and there is no way to know if it is safe to eat.
The Food Standards Agency is continuing to investigate further reports with support from local authority partners. Letters have been sent to local authorities responsible for investigating and enforcing food law to advise them to remove any fake products from sale where there is a known or suspected public health risk.
Any members of the public who have bought or spot counterfeit Wonka Bars on shelves or online are advised to raise the issue with the retailer and report the matter to their Local Authority so that action can be taken.