FSA introduces an EU ban on jelly mini-cup sweets

Press Release: 16/04/2004

The Food Standards Agency is implementing an EU ban on the sale of jelly mini-cup sweets. The ban is a precautionary measure while the European Food Safety Authority considers whether these sweets could pose a potential choking hazard.

A trade withdrawal of these types of sweets from retail outlets across England is to be carried out and the FSA is asking local authorities to ensure they are removed from sale. Winchester City Council's Environmental Health team is liasing with the local Trading Standards department and notifying retailers in the district

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:

ABC Mini Fruit Bites
Natco Jelee Mini Pots

A picture showing what jelly mini-cups look like can be found on the FSA website at www.food.gov.uk

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 a European 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 European Commission has now banned jelly mini-cups containing these additives amid concerns they could still pose a choking hazard. The same measures are being introduced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Anyone who requires further information is asked to contact the City Council's environmental health team on 01962 848470 or Trading Standards on 0845 603 0081.