FSA issues fake Wonka chocolate warning

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Counterfeit Wonka chocolate bars have been spotted on store shelves in the UK
Counterfeit Wonka chocolate bars have been spotted on store shelves in the UK

Related tags Confectionery Fraud

UK and Ireland food safety authorities have warned members of the public to be on the lookout for counterfeit Wonka chocolate bars being sold in shops and online across the country.

The Food Standards Agency, Food Standards Scotland and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) warned the bars could be being manufactured by an unregistered business or individuals who could be contravening food hygiene, labelling and traceability laws.

Some bars removed from sale have been found to contain allergens that weren’t listed on the label, posing a major health risk to anyone suffering from allergies or intolerances.

Bogus chocolate risk

Tina Potter, head of incidents at the FSA, said: “With Easter just weeks 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.

“There is no way of knowing what ingredients are in these bars or what food hygiene practices are being followed by the people making them. If you have bought these counterfeit bars, do not eat them or give them to friends and family.”

This latest warnings followed an increase in reports of the counterfeit chocolate bars on sale over the past year.

Any Wonka-branded chocolate that 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. The FSA and FSS are continuing to investigate further reports with support from local authority partners.

Pamela Byrne, chief executive, FSAI urged 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​ [Ireland's Health Service Executive] to ensure any counterfeit Wonka branded chocolate bars where there is a known or suspected consumer health risk are removed from sale. Consumers have a right to safe food and counterfeit foodstuffs will be pursued using the legal powers available to us.”

Unauthorised reproduction 

A spokesman for Ferrero told Food Manufacture​: “Ferrero has not authorised any third party to use its Wonka trademarks in the UK or to manufacture products bearing its brands.

Therefore, any products which are on the market which do not include reference either to Ferrero or its related company Ferrara Candy Company can be considered to be infringing product and should be withdrawn from the market. Ferrero will be taking the necessary actions to protect our consumers, our interests and rights.”

Any members of the public who have bought or spot counterfeit Wonka Bars on shelves or online were advised to raise the issue with the retailer and report the matter to their local authority so that action can be taken.

Meanwhile, Food Forensics managing director Alison Johnson discussed the impact the global supply disruption caused by the war in Ukraine will have on food fraud and food authenticity.

Johnson detailed the impact the disruption could cause to some of the key agricultural materials coming out of Russia and Ukraine.

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