The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued a warning to consumers not to buy or eat counterfeit chocolate bars that are being sold in shops and online across the UK. The fake products include Wonka and Prime-branded chocolate bars, which may be unsafe and contain undeclared allergens.
Counterfeit Wonka Bars
The FSA first alerted the public about the fake Wonka Bars in March 2022, after receiving reports of the counterfeit chocolate bars on sale over the past year. The fake bars may be produced or repackaged by unregistered businesses and individuals who could be violating food hygiene, labelling and traceability laws. Some of the fake bars that have been removed from sale were found to contain allergens such as nuts and milk that were not listed on the label, posing a serious health risk to anyone who suffers from a food allergy or intolerance.
The FSA advises consumers to look for the official ‘Ferrero’ or ‘Ferrara Candy Company’ trademarks on the label, as any Wonka-branded chocolate that does not feature these trademarks is likely to be a counterfeit product and there is no way to know if it is safe to eat. The FSA is continuing to investigate the issue with the support of local authorities, and has sent letters to them to advise them to remove any fake products from sale where there is a known or suspected public health risk. Consumers who have bought or spotted 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.
Counterfeit Prime Chocolate Bars
The FSA has also been informed of reports of Prime-labeled chocolate bars in the UK, which are not manufactured or supplied by Prime, a company that only produces beverages. The fake Prime chocolate bars may have similar issues as the fake Wonka Bars, such as lack of ingredient list, allergen information, business name and address on the label, and possible unhygienic conditions of production or repackaging. The FSA warns consumers not to buy or eat these fake products, as they may be unsafe and illegal.
The FSA has also warned about imported Prime Hydration and Prime Energy drinks, which are not intended for the UK market and are not compliant with domestic legislation. These drinks have FL OZ on the front label, instead of 500 mL, which is the standard for the UK market. The imported drinks may contain zinc aspartate, which is not a permitted food additive in the EU, and may have incorrect allergen information and labelling. Consumers are advised to check the label carefully and avoid buying or drinking these products.
FSA’s Advice to Consumers
The FSA urges consumers to be vigilant and cautious when buying chocolate bars and energy drinks, especially online, and to look for the following signs of counterfeit products:
- No ingredient list or allergen information on the label
- No business name or address on the packaging
- Unusual or suspicious packaging, such as rewrapping of shop-bought chocolate in fake branded wrappers
- No official trademarks or logos of the brand
- Different or incorrect units of measurement on the label, such as FL OZ instead of mL
The FSA also reminds consumers that counterfeit products may not only pose health risks, but also harm legitimate businesses and undermine food safety standards. Consumers who have any concerns or complaints about counterfeit products should contact the retailer and their local authority, and report any adverse reactions to their GP or NHS 111.