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Diatribe: We Shouldn’t Have To Check Our M&Ms For Razor Blades!

11/02/2013

mm-razor-bladeI always thought they were just folklore that parents made up to keep kids from eating too much candy … urban legends to scare us … the stories that we heard, growing up, about Halloween candy that was tampered with before it was given to unsuspecting children.  There were stories about straight pins buried in popcorn balls, razor blades hidden in caramel apples and shards of glass tucked into candy bars but I didn’t believe any of them.  There may have been some truth to the rumors after all.  Beginning in the late 1970s and through the 1980s, concerned mothers everywhere would sort through their children’s trick-or-treat bags looking for anything suspicious before they would let their children eat any of the candy that they had waited all year to gather.  Some mothers would, allegedly, go so far as to take the candy to local hospitals for x-rays before they would let their children eat it!

In 1982 the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Confectioners Association joined forces to establish the Halloween Candy Hotline.  Its purpose was to assist law enforcement officials and poison control professionals nationwide in determining if candy that was suspected of tampering was a real problem or the result of manufacturer or shipment error.  Last year, the hotline was shut down because police say that incidences of candy tampering are extremely rare.  So rare, in fact, that they don’t even track the occurrences any more.

Maybe they should start again.

Last Sunday, twelve-year-old Matthew Hernley of Scottsdale, Pennsylvania, found a rusty one-inch razor blade in a package of M&Ms during his town’s official trick-or-treating period, prompting investigations by both local police and the candy’s manufacturer, Mars Chocolate North America.

“I don’t know which house I got it from, because every other house I think I got a pack of M&Ms.” – Matthew Hernley.

This sort of thing makes mothers everywhere quite furious!  Little kids rip those packages open and pour that candy into their mouths more quickly than even the fastest parents can intervene.

“Food safety and product quality are of paramount importance to Mars. We were very disturbed to learn that a consumer had a product safety issue within our M&Ms Funsize packaging.  We will continue to investigate to better understand the nature of this incident and work with the local authorities, if needed.” Mars Chocolate North America.

Local police are investigating but initial findings allegedly indicate that the blade’s appearance in the M&Ms was some sort of manufacturing issue since the package of candy did not appear to have been tampered with.  Personally, I don’t suspect foul play.

Perhaps this news will serve as a reminder that responsible parents should monitor what their children eat.  Not just the type or quantity of foods that they consume but the condition of the packages that their treats come in.  To this day I won’t buy a dented can in a supermarket because my grandmother always thought there “might be something wrong” with them.  I figure … why risk it?

Do you check your kid’s candy at Halloween?  What about the rest of the year?

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5 Comments
  1. If you cannot trust smiling candy whom can you trust? We worry more these days about giving candy with no peanuts in them.

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  2. 1.OK, I don’t celebrate Halloween but I have a couple things to say on this. Firstly, when I was young I was taught to never take sweets from strangers for various reasons. Now, I’m not even sure if children are being told this nowadays but if they are, why do parents allow them to accept sweets or any type of food from strangers on Halloween? Even if they accept the sweets, they don’t have to open and eat it. And what makes it worse, is that sometimes as the child knocks the doors, the parents are there in the background looking on. Isn’t it like sending a mixed message?

    2. If the blades etc are found in packets of only M&Ms and the authorities can prove that the packaging hasn’t been tampered with beforehand. Then this must lead to either a professional individual who’s an expert of unsealing and resealing packets of M&Ms or it’s down to someone at the factory/manufacturing stage who is doing this maliciously.

    It would also be interesting to know how often this kind of thing happens outside of the Halloween period, or maybe some strange person out there is trying to make a point to those that celebrate it. I don’t know, it’s all a guess.

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  3. I checked every single thing my daughter brought home. If there was any question at all, it went into the discard pile even if it was pre-packaged. My parents did the same for me.

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