UK shop owner pleads guilty to selling fake Wonka bars

A business owner trading in Barnsley, UK, has pleaded guilty to selling counterfeit Wonka chocolate bars with incorrect labelling and allergy advice.

Nathan Bennett (33), who lives in Huddersfield, ran the Kandy Fix kiosk in the Alhambra Centre in Barnsley between August and December last year. Following a complaint from a member of the public, a Trading Standards officer visited the premises and got a sample of what appeared to be a counterfeit Wonka Bar.

Authorities in the UK and Ireland recently warned that counterfeit Wonka bars had been encountered in the market and may be unsafe to east, particularly for people with allergies.

Genuine Wonka bars were originally manufactured by Swiss food giant Nestle – but were discontinued more than a decade ago because sales were poor. The brand is now owned by Ferrero Rocher, which was acquired by Nestle in 2018, but it does not currently sell Wonka products.

Bennett pleaded guilty at Barnsley Magistrates Court on April 4. The court heard that the ingredients list on the label of the Wonka Bar did not match that of the chocolate it contained, and notably, the chocolate itself contained hazelnut paste in sufficient quantities to trigger a serious allergic reaction.

Bennett claimed to have only sold the Wonka Bars for two weeks and that he did not know that what he was doing was an offence. However, evidence presented by Barnsley Council showed that he had been selling Wonka Bars since at least 2019 at another kiosk in Huddersfield.

He had also been prosecuted previously for selling Wonka Bars in similar circumstances in North East Lincolnshire in 2016, and was given advice on food allergen labelling on at least six occasions by North East Lincolnshire and Doncaster councils.

Julia Burrows, Barnsley Council's director of public health, said: "It’s vitally important that food labelling includes all ingredients, as they can cause potential serious injury or death to a consumer who is allergic to their ingredients. Mr Bennett has shown a complete disregard for the safety of his customers in his actions.

"We will always help businesses comply, but where they put the public at risk knowing the potential consequences, we will take enforcement action."

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