Food Standards Agency
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Friday 16 April 2004
The Food Standards Agency is implementing a European Union ban on the sale of jelly mini-cup sweets.
The ban has been introduced by the European Commission (EC) as a precautionary measure while the European Food Safety Authority considers whether these sweets could cause choking.
A trade withdrawal of all these types of sweets from retail outlets across England is to be carried out.
The Agency has asked local authorities to ensure they are removed from sale.
There have been no reported incidents involving these sweets in the UK, but anyone who has bought some is advised not to eat them.
The sweets are sold under a number of different brand names, including:
The soft, slippery jellies, which often have a chunk of coconut gel at the centre, come in dome-shaped plastic cups with a foil lid, similar to a mini pot of milk or a coffee creamer.
The sweets are sold in bags, plastic jars or individually. Children may suck out and swallow the sweet whole, and it is possible the sweet might become lodged in the airway.
The latest ban follows an EC Decision in 2002 prohibiting the sale of jelly mini-cup sweets containing Konjac.
Sweets containing this binding ingredient were linked to a number of deaths of children and elderly people worldwide. Konjac does not dissolve easily and increased the risk of sweets becoming stuck in the throat.
After the ban on Konjac sweets, manufacturers reformulated jelly mini-cup sweets, using seaweed extract or other gums as a binding agent instead of Konjac, so the sweets would dissolve in the mouth more easily.
But the EC has now also banned jelly mini-cup sweets containing these additives, amid concerns they could still pose a choking hazard. The same measures are being introduced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
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