Mountain Dew. Jolly Ranchers. Swedish Fish. Lemon Heads. To American parents, they're everyday mouth-stuffers. To frugal Brits, they're mysteriously cheap options found in corner shops. And to U.K. officials, they're illegal contraband containing banned ingredients thought to cause cancer and birth abnormalities.
…they contain carcinogenic and genotoxic ingredients that have been banned by the UK government. Manufacturers said they were not involved with the sale of their products in this country. In Staffordshire, trading standards officers seized £8,000 of illegal sweets from 22 shops. In one raid in Burton-upon-Trent, over £300 worth of banned confectionary was found in a local corner shop.
For our tangy delectation, the United States' federal government offers some details about the carcinogens found in mineral oil, the "weakly genotoxic" calcium disodium EDTA and similar compounds, and all those dyes linked vaguely to hyperactivity and other ailments. It's all rather worrying, say local officials and experts that the BBC talked to.
Dr Punam Krishan, investigating for Morning Live, said she had assumed sweets sold in the UK would be legal. "Sweets and candy are meant to be a treat for children and adults and while they'll never be deemed healthy, to learn there are products that are on UK shelves that have ingredients that are not authorised in this country is a cause for concern," she said. CTSI chief executive John Herriman said the UK "prides itself on high food standards" and that it was "extremely worrying" potentially dangerous products were on sale on high streets. "Trading Standards work extremely hard to protect the public by removing dangerous products from sale, but the popularity of these items is being increased by videos on social media platforms, such as TikTok.
The good news for Americans is you're in no danger of eating horses when you order meatballs at the Pittsburgh Ikea. And if you're wondering, British beef, having ended its classic Buy 1 Get ∞ Free deal on prions, has been legal to sell in the U.S. since 2020.