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Food watchdog scrutinises candy bar over consumer complaints

Consumers have been advised to avoid eating the candy bars and to report symptoms to local health inspectors.

Lapsen sininen kieli Dipper-karkin syömisen jälkeen.
Some children have reported symptoms such as nausea, headaches, vomitting and skin rashes. Image: Suvi Turunen / Yle

The Finnish Food Authority has asked importers and retailers to suspend sales of a Spanish-made candy known as Dipper. It is also asking consumers to temporarily stop consuming the sweet following reports that it has made some youngsters ill.

Parents have reported that the candy has made their children vomit in some instances. In others, they complained of nausea, pallor, skin rashes and headaches.

The Dipper bars became popular among children and teenagers after being featured in Tik Tok videos because of the way they dyed people’s tongues red or blue.

The authority said on Tuesday that it has begun looking into blue Dipper candy bars after having been contacted by members of the public reporting symptoms after eating it.

Save the packaging

In a statement released on Wednesday, it asked consumers who have experienced symptoms to save the packaging and to report the matter to municipal health inspectors.

Head of the authority’s food safety division, senior inspector Kirsi-Helena Kanninen said that the ingredients in the candy bar are the same as in many other similar products. The list of ingredients for the blue raspberry-flavoured bar itemises glucose syrup, sugar, citric acid, maltodextrin, palm oil, humectants (glycerol), sweetener (gum arabic), emulsifier (E471), sunflower lecithin, flavouring and colouring (E133).

"All of the ingredients look familiar and permitted within the EU," Kanninen said.

Story continues after photo.

Dipper-karkkeja läjässä.
Importers and retailers have been advised to temporarily stop sales of the candy bar. Image: Petri Niemi /Yle

Kanninen said that reports from the public concerned candy bars in which the manufacturers used the bright blue colouring, E133. It is not a member of the group of azo dyes, which are synthetic. Products that contain azo dyes require a warning label. Kanninen said that there is currently no research that suggests that brilliant blue is dangerous.

About 10 years ago, the European Food Safety Authority Efsa conducted a safety audit that slightly lowered the safety threshold for brilliant blue in products. Legislation on additives ensures that not too much of it is included in the average diet.

Dipper bar samples have been dispatched to the Customs laboratory for testing. Kanninen said it was too early to say how soon results would be available. She recommended that people avoid eating them until more information is available.

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