It is an addiction for kids – they love picking up a Kinder Surprise from the store. After all, who could say no to a surprise toy wrapped in chocolate? But while the innocent treat can be found around the world, it’s actually deemed illegal in the U.S.
But why are Kinder eggs banned? The U.S. law against the chocolate egg actually dates back to 1938. At that time, the country’s Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act banned all candies embedded with “non-nutritive objects,” such as toys. So, when Kinder eggs began to be manufactured in the ’70s by Italian company Ferrero, they fell under this law and were made illegal in the U.S.
In addition to that, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claims the surprise toy could be a choking hazard for kids. As a result, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection often issues press releases reminding people that these treats “may be cute and seasonal but they are too dangerous to children to be imported legally into the U.S.”
Despite warnings, this hasn’t stopped people from trying to smuggle the chocolate eggs across the border. According to the National Post, about 60,000 Kinder eggs were confiscated at the U.S.-Canada border in 2011. Additionally, there have been reports of people who were detained for being in possession of the candy at the border and who received fines of up to $1,200 per egg.
Over the years, many people have called out the U.S. for their “ridiculous” Kinder egg ban and questioned the reasoning behind it.
“These Kinder Surprise eggs are super cool. My kids nine and three love them to death,” one commenter wrote on BabyCenter. “The egg has a plastic capsula inside the chocolate egg. And all small parts [are] in that capsula. I do not see how is this possible to choke. We never had any problems. My son can’t even open the capsula by himself.”
On the internet, countless memes have also cropped up poking fun at the ban’s absurdity.
In 2013, the message behind these memes were used as part of a gun control PSA by Moms Demand Action to contrast the U.S. laws put in place to protect children.
While there have been at least seven reported child deaths worldwide due to choking on a Kinder Surprise since 1989, many argue that the fatalities are quite low considering the billions of Kinder eggs that are sold and consumed. Additionally, the chocolate egg warns parents a number of times with its packaging that these toys are not suitable for kids under the age of three and that supervision is recommended.
Although Kinder Surprise eggs continue to be banned in the U.S. today, the country does offer an alternative treat. They’re called Choco Treasure eggs. While they might seem no different than their banned counterpart, these Choco treats feature a “specially-designed capsule that separates the two halves of the chocolate so even a small child can see the there’s something on the inside.” They are also bigger – about the size of a extra-large hen’s egg.
With inputs from CNN Money
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