Ever since we wrote about the choking hazards of toys encased in hollow Easter eggs around this time last year, we've been getting comments from devotees who see no issue with the chocolate novelty. While we realize the Kinder Surprise eggs, made by Italy's Ferrero Group, are popular worldwide and considered a collector's item by some, we want to issue a reminder that the Surprise eggs have been banned in the United States since 1997, when the Consumer Product Safety Commission warned that the toys could pose a choking hazard to children under 3. (That same year, Nestle voluntarily withdrew a similar product, Nestle Magic.)
The CPSC banned the product because the toy surprise hidden inside can pose choking and aspiration hazards to children younger than three years of age. The Kinder eggs are hollow milk chocolate eggs about the size of a large hen's egg in a colorful foil wrapper. The toy within the egg is contained in an oval-shaped plastic capsule. The small toy requires assembly and each egg contains a different one. The labeling is in various languages.
Kinder Surprise also falls afoul of a provision in the 1938 Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which prohibits embedding "nonnutritive items" in confections. Despite the ban, which is fully honored by Ferrero's U.S. arm, Surprise eggs are widely available here, with many imported by companies specializing in foods from countries where the product is legally available. The eggs pictured above, for example, come from Poland, and were purchased for $1.59 each in a suburban New York gourmet food store. A Consumers Union staffer recently confirmed they are available in a small supermarket near our offices in Westchester County, New York. They are also widely available along the U.S.-Canadian border, since they're legal in Canada. Surprise eggs are also easily purchased on the Internet, from ethnic importers and candy merchants.
If you really want to surprise your kids this Easter, you can consider getting them candy and toys separately. Mixing the two, especially when the toy is embedded inside the candy as it is with the Surprise egg, sends a mixed message about what is and isn't edible, and puts younger children at risk. If your child receives a Kinder egg, the CPSC recommends taking it away.
I must say that this is one of the strangest bans I have ever seen. Small toys have not been banned, but yet this candy has been? There is a warning on each package to let parents know of the hazard, but yet the government has to take it a step too far. I spent 12 years in Germany and never heard of a single choking incident. I think it was the power of Nestle's lobbyist afraid of a superior product that had Kinder Eggs banned.
I agree with the first comment...
1) every egg comes with the necessary warnings on the aluminum cover clearly indicating that it is not to be given to kids under the age of 3.
2) even if, a 3 year old, and even older kids, will have a hard time even opening the capsule and often require the help of their parents.
3) You really do not believe yourself that a kid might ot be able to keep the edible and not edible apart...
4) It is sold throughout the world, with exception of the US and does not face any problems what so ever regarding safetety concerns elseswhere
5) The quality standards of FERRERO are extremely high
The only risk to my humble opinion is teh possibility of a irresponsable parent opening it and giving it to a kid less than 3 y.o., but you cannot hold the producer resonsible for that, can you?
Not sure whether Nestle did any of the lobbying, but there is a whole local US chocolate industry that probably faces less competition thanks to the ban... pure protectionism
I think that Ferrero have a tiny bit of a conscience about the potential danger of their chocolate eggs to vulnerable children. Otheerwise why have they changed the design to a single piece toy and the cylinder to a hinged capsule? And why is the European Parliament inundated with lobbying Italians when the subject of the Toy Safety Directive is being considered?
The solution is so obvious its a pity that it has taken such a very long time for the manufacturers to bow to the opinion of many good folk worldwide? Your contributors who find the whole thing a storm in a teacup are fortunate not to be the parents of dead children in Turkey, Germany, England, Ireland and Greece (not to mentikon Israel).
I agree with the first two commenters. Why would pretty much every country in the world allow them if they were unsafe? Parents just need to have common sense and supervise their children. Considering the almost constant barrage of recalls for safety and poor production values in children's products in the US (something that hardly EVER happens here in Germany), something is out of whack about this ban.
Does anybody knows who is the company that provides, manufactures these toys?
If anyone has ever tried to open one of the capsules, he or she would realize the joke it is trying to 'protect the child.' It would take an extremely irresponsible parent to hand the capsule, much less the toy, to a child 3 and under. The parent would be violating the warnings, printed in several languages!
Parents are the first line of defense for protecting their children. The governments want to preempt our God-given right to choose what is best for our children and put their "superior" child-rearing skills in place of ours.
God, in His infinite wisdom, gave every human being a right to free will -- to make our choices. Government, thinking they are smarter, higher or somehow better than God, seeks to take it away.
I love kinder eggs, and my son does too.
I think the ban is silly for all the reasons others have listed above.
Guess I will have to move to Canada.
This is a case of not being able to see the forest for the trees. The government is trying to protect your small child from choking on the contents of the egg but forgets that chidren also live in homes where buttons, coins, tacks and all kinds of swallowable things exist.
Buy your kinder eggs sans chocolate on Ebay-the eggs from Germany are the best!!
According to the CPSC press release back in 1997, they even admit there had not been any reported instances of injuries resulting from Kinder Eggs in the US. This is another example of the government taking preemptive measures to protect people from what MIGHT happen. Of course, this also assumes that parents are going to disregard the warnings on the packaging, and allow toddlers to eat the Kinder Eggs unsupervised. Using this logic, the CPSC might as well ban all pointy objects and objects less than 1" diameter, and require that all floors and walls in the US be covered with a thick layer of rubber.
My parents in Austria sent my seven year old son and my five year old daughter each a box with chocolates and candy for Easter. One box made it through, the other one was opened, and six Kinder Surprise eggs were seized and removed. We received the opened box and whatever was left in it.
Today, my son received a notice from the Office of Fines, Penalties and Forfeitures of the US Customs and Border Protection Office in Newark. The letter is 5 pages long and I had to read it three times before I understood what they want to tell us.
I am quite shocked that we are spending tax money on keeping people on the payroll who enforce laws like this one. My son is 7 and cannot open the capsule in the chocolate egg without my help, and of course neither can my daughter.
I would very much like to see something done about this regulation. It is not grounded on facts and science, and we should help our government to focus on more important matters during these hard times.
I looked up Kinder Eggs in the USA after reading a post on another blog regarding them and how absolutely fabulous they are. This is the first one I clicked on and it makes me want to move out of this country even more. We live in the land of the brave, free and idiots. Ready to sue anyone and get into anyone else's business at any time. GET A LIFE!
I was very upset with this bann on eggs. As a resident in the 'Land of the Free' I'm not even able to buy a piece of nostalgic candy from my childhood? I understand that they would be banned in stores so kids cant buy em themselves but from websites with a HUGE warning page before the checkout page should be managable.
But here's the thing.... I found web sites that has a HUGE selection of the Kinder-Surprise chocolate in bar form. Just do a yahoo or google search on 'Kinder Chocolate' to enjoy it without restrictions. And just like the article said 'If you really want to surprise your kids this Easter, you can consider getting them candy and toys separately'. So get the bars, and e-bay is full of unopened toy capsules. so get em seperately, just not the egg shape but oh well.
Guess we all have to compromise a bit for a simple chocolate novelty in 'the greatest 'free' country in the World' Well.. I know I was a bit late for easter but hope this helps anyway. Enjoy people... yes.. enjoy.. I know i'm a bit happier now :)
Welcome to the land of the Free ::snort::. If parents are dumb enough to give thier kids this toy in a responsible manner, or read the label, I dare to say what else they give/do to their children... Thank god the government is here to protect us from ourselves.
"Any man willing to trade freedom for security deserves neither and will lose both." Thomas Jefferson
And yet we still sell gum balls, jaw breakers and other such candy that is also a choking hazard...Seriously ???????. I am just happy to be living in a time when you can order anything online and bypass the government all together.....There must be some political payoff in this somewhere.
This is the most ridicules thing that I have heard in a long time. I just went through customs in Philly and had 24 eggs seized at the customs check point. Everything that I can find on the laws banning Kinder Eggs says that it poses a choking hazard for children under 3. There is a warning on the egg that says not to give it to children under 3. There is even a paper inside every egg that says in every language not to give it to kids under 3. I am in the process of calling the CPSC and the FDA and finding out how this law came about and trying to get it changed! I suggest that everyone that has commented on this call the CPSC 800-638-2772 and ask them about this ridicules law. The will eventually have to make a statement to us all!
I agree this law is bogus and if anything, is destroying childrens chance to experience something so simple and spactacular at the same time! My family has a 3, 8 and 11 year olds, and we bought a box of them in Mexico and ate them before we returned to this so-called "free" country. that our friends and family members in the military are dying for! VERY Upsetting!
For now we wait to go visit Mexico and enjoy the treats there.
Thank you for the suggestion to buy the chocolate and capsule seperate- will do this for christmas! =0)
Our government is run by idiots. Did you see where selling toys at garage sales is now forbidden by federal law? We need another American revolution.
Ridiculous. I've had these eggs since I was six years old and I'm still alive and kicking!
actually nestle tried to overturn the ban... if it wasn't for mars they would probably be legal here today.
This is completely ridiculous,the Consumer Product Safety Commission should hire someone with common sense when it comes to decisions like this.
1. There is a warning label on the side of the package, that specifically states the small toy is not for children under the age of 3.
2. Kinder Eggs are available in about 100 other countries, and I have seen no reports ever of any child having an injury occur from one.
3. If a child (if your child) does not know the difference between chocolate and a toy, then they probably should not be given Kinder eggs.
4. A responsible parent observes what their younger children eat, if not then they probably should not be parents.
5. Consumer reports should fight this ridiculous, idiocy rule.