Trading standards staff have confiscated a significant amount of counterfeit chocolate, specifically "Wonka Bars", from American candy shops on Oxford Street. The seized merchandise, amounting to approximately £100,000, was confirmed by Westminster Council.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has promptly warned consumers who may have purchased these counterfeit items: "If you have acquired these imitation bars, refrain from consuming them."
This crackdown on Oxford Street's US-themed sweet shops comes after allegations that these businesses owe close to £8m in business rates. Over the past half-year, the council has retrieved about £475,000 in counterfeit and prohibited products.
Furthermore, the FSA is deeply concerned that the counterfeit chocolates might be the work of unauthorised businesses or individuals, potentially violating food hygiene, labelling, and traceability regulations. Tina Potter of the FSA pointed out the discovery of unlisted allergens in some bars, stressing the dangers they pose to those with food allergies. She clarified, "There's no certainty about the ingredients or the hygiene standards maintained by the producers or repackagers of these bars." Any Wonka-branded chocolate without the Ferrero trademark is likely a fake.
Urko Dorronsoro from Donostia - San Sebastian, Euskal Herria (Basque Country), CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The FSA is urging the public not to purchase or consume these counterfeit 'Wonka Bars' available in stores and online nationwide. Their warning comes in the wake of a noticeable spike in reports of fake bars on sale in the last year.
It's not the first appearance of counterfeit Wonka Bars in the UK. A similar incident was reported in 2013. Officially licensed Wonka Bars are always packaged with the "Ferrero" or "Ferrara Candy Company" branding. Anyone who comes across counterfeit products is advised to report to the store where the purchase was made.