The Checkout

An Unpleasant Easter Surprise

It seems to happen around every Easter. A popular candy egg that contains a toy inside is found on store shelves. The only problem is the candy egg -- called Kinder Surprise -- has been banned by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The reason: The toy inside the egg is so small it poses a choking hazard to young children.

Kinder Surprise toys are very popular abroad so they inevitably find their way here, especially in the spring. But the CPSC has just issued a safety alert, calling on retailers to remove the product from their shelves and directing parents to take them away from small children.

For more on the safety alert, read my story in today's paper.

By  |  April 14, 2006; 7:00 AM ET Consumer Alerts
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Reading this just makes me want a Kinder Surprise Egg. I have to admit to snatching them up whenever I see them. Perhaps I am preventing a disaster by eating them myself.

Posted by: DC candy grl | April 14, 2006 10:13 AM

Arrgghhh... if a child is not old enough to tell the difference between a toy and chocolate, they shouldn't be eating chocolate yet. My family moved to Germany when I was 9 months old, and I lived there for several years. Kinder eggs were my absolute favorite, and when I go out of the country now I am always on the lookout for them. I just wish I had been able to get to that store before they were pulled from the shelves.

Posted by: hattergal | April 14, 2006 10:37 AM

Maybe the stance we SHOULD be taking is: "Don't let little kids near stuff they might swallow."

It's all about a chance to retire early by suing companies nowadays. I wonder how much longer before Legos are banned, even though they're clearly age-labelled just because some parents are dumb enough to give them to their too-small kids or a kid swallows his older brother/sister's Legos.

Posted by: tallbear | April 14, 2006 10:48 AM

I'll never know how I survived growing up in the 1950s and 1960s without the Consumer Product Safety Commission's nannies hovering over me, making me wear bicycle helmets and kneepads, ordering me to come down out of that tree I was climbing, and removing the little tinkling bell eyes from my stuffed animals that I was somehow smart enough to know not to yank off and swallow. Maybe it's because my mother actually paid attention to what I was doing with myself instead of watching TV or surfing the Web, or--dare I say it--working full-time to provide a second income that we didn't need to support our modest but comfortable lifestyle in a 2000-square-foot house instead of a MacMansion, driving ordinary Chevrolet and Pontiac sedans instead of luxury cars.

Posted by: Scott | April 14, 2006 10:59 AM

A neighbor's aunt brought these back from Germany several times when I was a child. One of my favorite childhood memories is finding them at our local church Easter egg hunt, brought from overseas by someone. We knew they were special because we couldn't get them here, but we didn't think they were dangerous. Our parents just supervised when we ate the chocolate and put together the toy.

If the CPSC wants to protect children from choking hazards, they should permit the importation and of Kinder surprise eggs and require that they be clearly labelled in English as not suitable for children under three to prevent foreign-language-labelled-only products from being sold. Adults and older children should not be denied the opportunity to enjoy them legally.

Posted by: gvc | April 14, 2006 11:05 AM

"If the CPSC wants to protect children from choking hazards, they should permit the importation and of Kinder surprise eggs and require that they be clearly labelled in English"

Don't forget Spanish, too!

Posted by: It's America! | April 14, 2006 11:57 AM

Oh no! How typical of they will deny everyone the joy of Kinder eggs because lawsuit happy and irresponsible American parents can't take the time to make sure their young children don't eat the toys inside! I love these Kinder eggs! They have been a special and delicious treat since childhood and now I'll have to order them from Germany (via their website) or just pick up a bunch when I visit this summer :( If some dumb American kid chokes on a toy because the parents are not responsible enough to watch them and give them age appropriate candy - then too's time we start Darwin'ing out all the idiots!

Posted by: mmp | April 14, 2006 1:31 PM

Seriously folks!! Kids under the age of three chouldn't be eating chocolate in the first place. And really, a child can choke on a pen cap so we shouldn't sell ink pens either. How about other easter candy that kids can choke on.....jelly beans, malt eggs, m&m's, lifesavers, etc. Kids can choke on ANYTHING. Parents just need to watch their kids and Americans in general need to stop with the pety lawsuits.

Posted by: Duke | April 14, 2006 1:52 PM

My two kids survived our collection of hundreds of Kinder Surprise toys, conveniently displayed on a low shelf. I used them to set plays, thre was prety much every character or item I could possibly need to be found there. We still buy them quite regularly for the smaller one, but the toys seem to have gotten less creative lately. They try to make this up by giving codes for their internet site, eew. I remember how obsessed my wife and I were about getting some of the less common of the toys.

Posted by: 20850 | April 14, 2006 2:02 PM

I'm sure glad that we no longer have to do anything but get up in the morning and go to work to produce. That's all life should be about anyway, sleep and work. Why bother ourselves with things like common sense, reason, logic? Thank God our government has taken the initiative to handle all of those messy day-to-day responsibilities and decisions that we'd otherwise have to make on our own.

Man, are people really just a step away from being placed in a pod with a tube down their throat to feed them and a tube up their butt to take away the waste material? Are humans going to have any capacity to handle life on their own anymore?

Posted by: Moe Ronn | April 14, 2006 2:21 PM

I just read about several states that are going into bars and pubs and arresting anyone who is "intoxicated". Texas and Virginia seem to believe that a bar should be a place where a child can go and not be exposed to disorderly drunks or cigarette smoke.

It's not about lawsuits, it's about shaping society according to how one group believes it should be. Diversity, free will, expression of emotion, anything that might unsettle the super-rich elites that feel they deserve more of everything in this country must be quashed immediately and absolutely. It must be dealt with harshly so that everyone else "gets the message". They also believe that they are entitled to decide everyone else's fate and actions, because of the virtue of being born into better circumstances. Everyone who isn't "them" are just the unwashed masses who need lots of guidance and coercion "to do what's right".

Posted by: jjMcGee | April 14, 2006 2:29 PM

I just choked on one of the keys from my keyboard.

Everyone turn in your computers immediately!

Posted by: jjMcGee | April 14, 2006 2:31 PM

The ban is stupid. People who buy Kinder Surprise eggs know what's inside them, and it's rather unlikely that a child would somehow manage to suddenly devour the egg and the hard plastic capsule inside. Have any children actually been seriously injured by these eggs? I doubt it, and it's really more a question of parental supervision than dangerous foods. The U.S. Government is "protecting" us from a delightful European treat.

Posted by: William | April 14, 2006 4:51 PM

I was surprised to read that these eggs are banned in the States. In Canada you can buy them in every supermarket. What will they ban next?

Posted by: Barb | April 16, 2006 3:56 PM


You need to go read the On Balance blog :-)

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2006 12:05 PM

I love Kinder Surprises! I always buy them when I'm overseas, and I'd always wondered why I never see them in the States. The chocolate is crappy, but the toys are so fun! (I'm 30 years old, generally considered old enough to tell the difference between food and toys.) I'm generally in favor of consumer protections - I mean, duh - but this is pretty ridiculous. There are plenty of toys with small parts. That's why they come with warnings. I mean, duh.

Posted by: h3 | April 17, 2006 1:12 PM

G-d, we Americans sure are a bunch of idiots. Our children don't know math or science and we are such incompitent parents that we can't teach our children (OVER 3!!!!) not to eat plastic.

My family is a big fan of kinder eggs. We buy them in Canada and when ever we go oversees. The CPSC can go where the sun don't shine...I'm keeping my Kinder toys!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 20, 2006 11:35 AM

I love Kinder Surprise eggs as well, and think it's ridiculous that they're banned in the United States. They are fun, harmless, and the chocolate is creamy and delicious!

Posted by: Ted | April 21, 2006 11:45 AM

I just heard about Kinder eggs from a freind of my daughters. I just happen to be going to Canada in a little over a week and I can't wait to buy a Kinder egg! I like the blog from the guy who said he just choked on a key from his keyboard. That's just it...there is always something that our kids (or even us adults) can choke on. Can't the goverment give us a little break on something as enjoyable and fun as the Kinder egg?

Posted by: Faye | June 25, 2006 6:07 PM

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