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Agriculture Press Release
May 31, 2002
Bronson stops sale of candy due to choking hazard
TALLAHASSEE – Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson has issued a "stop sale" order for 408 cases of a candy product in an Opa Locka warehouse that poses a choking hazard, especially in young children.
The product --"Eve’s Tutti Fruitti" -- is owned by YBS Inc. of Aventura and was located in AAA Wholesale Warehouse at 13125 N.W. 47th Avenue, Opa Locka on Thursday. The value of the candy is about $14,000.
State inspectors are searching for any of the candy in retail food stores across the state. A statewide alert had gone out to all inspectors in January to actively increase their surveillance for this candy after additional information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showed that it was still being imported into the United States and being found in other states.
The candy contains conjac, a gel that does not dissolve at body temperatures and has caused the death of six children in the United States in recent years. Unlike gelatin products commonly found in the United States, these candy products do not readily dissolve when put in the mouth. The candy is sold in miniature gel cups, similar to the size of a single-serve coffee creamer. The individual candies are sealed and sold in 10- to 14-ounce bags of multiple units.
The candy has been sold in other states under various names including Gelatinas Coconut Jelly, New Choice Mini Fruity, Don-Empire Gels, Yummy Choice Fruit Gel Snack, Sheng Hsiang Jen (Chinese label), Conjac Coconut Jelly, My Love and Coco, Durian Cocode Nut Jelly, Gueiling Gau Cocode Nut Jelly, Peach Cocode Nut Jelly, Taro Cocode Nut Jelly, Lychee Cocode Nut Jelly, and Mango Cocode Nut Jelly in various fruit flavors including apple, grape, taro, lychee, peach, pineapple, mango, orange, lemon, strawberry.
In August and October of 2001, the FDA issued general warnings against consuming mini-cup gel candies containing conjac, and many companies voluntarily recalled their products. Most, if not all, such candies are produced overseas and are sold in Asian and Hispanic markets, as well as internationally.
In recent weeks, the FDA has recalled or seized similar candies in California and other states. Consumers should not consume this product since it represents a choking hazard.
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NOTE TO EDITORS: A photo of the product is available online at florida-agriculture.com/photos. The photo file name is 05-31-02.