UK, Ireland warns of fake Wonka chocolate bars

The authorities in the UK and Ireland have warned the public to be aware of counterfeit Wonka chocolate bars in the market that are counterfeit and may be unsafe to eat.

Genuine Wonka bars were originally manufactured by Swiss food giant Nestle – but were discontinued more than a decade ago because sales were poor.

Since then they have returned to the market in some countries for limited release only, and the brand was sold to Ferrero Rocher before the Italian company was acquired by Nestle in 2018. Ferrero Rocher now owns all the intellectual property surrounding the Wonka brand on chocolate however, so at the moment any product sold on the market is counterfeit, according to the company.  

It is currently looking into the reports with a view to taking enforcement action against the counterfeiters.

It's not the first time the brand has been counterfeited. In 2012 add 2013, UK Trading Standards officers found counterfeit versions of white and milk chocolate Wonka Bar products being sold at an unnamed shop.

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Agency of Ireland (FSAI) said in statements that the chocolate bars may be unsafe to eat, as there is a possibility that they may not have been produced in line with food safety, hygiene and/or food traceability legal requirements to protect public health.

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, said the FSA.

Wonka bars being sold both in shops and online have been found with a number of issues, including failure to provide an accurate ingredients list on the label, which could pose a risk of undeclared ingredients and allergens.

"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," said Tina Potter, head of incidents at the FSA.

FSAI meanwhile said that some products have a false business name and address on the label or are being distributed by an unregistered food business selling products online. In certain cases, they are produced by rewrapping of various shop bought or homemade chocolate bars in Wonka wrappers.

The bars are sometimes sold with the gimmick of a printed gold ticket to visit the Willy Wonka factory, as immortalised in the Road Dahl children's book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Reports suggest even that may be misleading, as some purchasers say they merely found an unprinted yellow sheet of paper in the packaging.  

FSAI chief executive Dr Pamela Byrne warned consumers to be aware of the possible risks posed by these counterfeit chocolate bars.

"The FSAI is working closely with the food inspectors in the Environmental Health Service of the HSE to ensure any counterfeit Wonka branded chocolate bars where there is a known or suspected consumer health risk are removed from sale," said Dr Byrne.

"Consumers have a right to safe food and counterfeit foodstuffs will be pursued using the legal powers available to us," she added.

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