​American Candy in UK Markets: A Sweet Risk to Public Health

​American Candy in UK Markets: A Sweet Risk to Public Health

Posted by Emily on 12th Dec 2023

Recent investigations reveal a concerning trend in the UK: the sale of American sweets containing additives banned due to their links to hyperactivity and potential cancer risks in children. As the festive season approaches, trading standards officers urge parents to be vigilant about these imported confections.

Among the products identified are popular American candies such as Swedish Fish, Dubble Bubble, Jolly Rancher gummies and hard candy, Hot Tamales, Twizzlers, Lemonhead, and beverages like Mountain Dew, Marinda, and Sunny D. These items often contain E127 or Erythrosine (labelled as Red 3 in the US), which is restricted in the UK due to its association with hyperactivity in children and potential carcinogenic properties.

John Herriman, Chief Executive of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, expressed grave concerns: "As we approach Christmas, it's alarming that confectionery appealing to children and potentially linked to serious health issues is readily available in UK stores."

The popularity of American candy, fueled by social media, has led to the proliferation of specialist stores across the UK. Staffordshire County Council's recent seizure of over 3,000 items valued at £8,500 underscores the scale of this issue. Victoria Wilson, a cabinet member responsible for trading standards, advises checking if product ingredients are listed in fluid ounces and ounces instead of grams and millilitres to identify American imports.

These seized items contained unapproved additives like brominated vegetable oil, mineral oil, and bleached flour, which are not intended for the UK market. Some of these additives require disclaimers about potential hyperactivity in children.

Westminster City Council has called for government support to address the complex overseas ownership structures of companies importing American candy, often linked to countries like India, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The challenge is amplified by the uncooperative nature of the staff when inquired about the management of these businesses.

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