Monday, April 01, 2013

Surprise: Fake Kinder Eggs Are Sold Out

Ever since spending the occasional summer in France as a child, I've been enamored with Kinder Surprise eggs. The product can't help but be alluring: It consists of a toy hidden inside a chocolate shell — and it's illegal in the United States.

Photo courtesy of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

A recent ABC News story explains the reason for the restriction:
The Kinder Surprise, which is manufactured by an Italian company called Ferrero, has been banned in this country since 1938. That’s when the Food and Drug Administration passed the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which prohibits any “non-nutritive component” (for example, a toy) from being embedded in a confectionary product, as the Foodbeast reported. Kinder Surprise Eggs aren’t safe for kids under 3 years old, a clear violation of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission requirement, which states that candy-with-ensconced-toys must be safe for kids of all ages.
The 1930s was the era of "Reefer Madness," so I suppose it's not surprising that it spawned irrational fears about non-nutritive components. ("The next non-nutritive component tragedy may be yours. TELL YOUR CHILDREN!")

Anyway, a New Jersey man named Kevin Gass decided to create a Kinder knockoff that could be sold legally in the U.S.

The result was something called Choco Treasure.

Gass' eggs look a lot like Kinder eggs when they're inside the wrapper, but the differences become apparent when you open one up. From the ABC story: "Submerged inside each egg is a capsule that separates the two halves of the chocolate. The capsule also has ridges around the sides, so even a young child can tell there’s something there. The toys are also larger than those in other surprise eggs."

WBEZ food blog's has pictures of how this looks. The idea is to ensure that the two hemispheres of the chocolate are never in contact, like a brain surgeon severing the corpus callosum.

Photo courtesy of WBEZ.

Now, I would love to have done my own taste test — especially ahead of the Easter holiday — but Choco Treasures have been sold out for weeks (on the company's website, at least).

It's frustrating. I suppose it's better to be dealing with run-of-the-mill supply restrictions, after years of facing legal prohibition. But the result is the same: I can't get my hands on one.