You may have seen some Kinder products in really big grocery stores or speciality shops in the USA but may not have ever seen a Kinder Surprise. Why? Because they are illegal to import into the country. A friend of mine was in Europe and he brought me one back... This was a complete surprise to me! I wanted to use this "gift" to research why these items can't be bought in the USA and how long that has been the case. Then I'll show you what is inside of one. I have no children in my household so no one messed with this but me and my partners.
First off, even though it is illegal to import this product you can find them as a small number of European specialty markets. A recent report from CBS found these illegal eggs widely available in shops around NYC. How do they get them? Obviously they have to be imported but my guess is that much like my friend did, these stores aren't importing through proper channels. The Kinder Surprise is legal in both Canada and Mexico so it wouldn't be difficult to sneak them in from those countries. Stories I heard on Facebook while I was preparing this article confirmed that some people have indeed brought them across these borders or tried to.
Why are they illegal in the USA? The reissued Import Alert #34-02 which was published on March 15, 2017, so this year, states" Section 402(d)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act provides that confectionery having partially, or completely imbedded therein, any non-nutritive object is adulterated unless FDA has issued a regulation recognizing that the non-nutritive object is of practical functional value to the confectionery product and would not render the product injurious or hazardous to health.
|Yowie Boof Egg|
Both the non-Kinder eggs have larger sections along the side that indicate something inside, both state that the product is in two parts, and the thing inside of the plastic under the milk chocolate isn't something with small parts that you have to put together, it already is a little toy. Below you can see the little whale shark in the Yowie I found at Target.
|Yowie Inside with Whale Shark Toy|
Why was the ban created in 1938? If we can figure that out, we'll understand what is going on but discovering this was a challenge. The FDA itself give only a brief online history of this act giving credit to the efforts of women’s groups, pioneered policies designed to protect the pocketbooks of consumers and not mentioning any big business push. Oh, candy businesses have certainly used the ACT to help fight off importation of certain products but why if it is illegal to have non-food items inside of candy? What is the competition exactly if you can make similar types of products in the USA? Is the Choco Treasure and the Yowie really that much safer?
Now, before you say "But my kid's cereal has a toy in it?" note that the toy is in the box not inside the cereal. Same thing for toys attached to the packaging of a candy bar or in the Easter Basket of goodies you might be looking for. Those Choco Treasures and the Yowie Eggs I mentioned above have distinct sections so that no one would think the non-food item was part of the food. However have you seen kids eat or just put random things in their mouth? I have, I don't the risk is really in how the egg is made but simply that kids will put things in their mouths that they aren't supposed to. Parents, babysitters, grandparents, whomever, cannot keep their kids under lockdown at all times. Accidents will happen and they have with this product from time to time.
So what the heck does this Kinder Surprise look like inside that foil wrapper? Let's find out.
|Kinder Surprise Egg Unwrapped|
|Kinder Surprise Opened|
|Robot and Stickers from Kinder Surprise|
|Robot from Kinder Surprise|
|Lindor Milk Chocolate Truffle Egg|
But hey, if you are in a country that has Kinder Surprise, enjoy!
Online Articles Used to Write this Article:
1: "Why are Kinder Surprise Eggs Illegal in the USA?"
2: Wikipedia Article
3: Kinder Surprise USA
4: FDA Alert
5: FDA article about history of 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act
6: Giants in Candy
7: CBSNewYork Report