Why The UK's Counterfeit Wonka Bars Are So Concerning

Anyone who read the classic 1964 Roald Dahl children's book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" or watched one of the film adaptions undoubtedly remembers Wonka Bars, the fictitious chocolate bars containing a golden ticket that changed the life of protagonist Charlie Bucket, bringing him into the orbit of the eccentric candymaker Willy Wonka. Wonka Bars were made real in 1976, when the Chicago-based candy company Breaker Confections brought its graham cracker and milk chocolate version to the market (via Newsweek). Chocolate giant Nestlé acquired the brand in 1988, according to Snack History, and it was eventually sold to Ferrero. While mostly gone from U.S. shelves, Wonka Bars are available in the U.K., but fans of the whimsical candy should be aware there are reports of counterfeit versions being sold.

On March 28, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) released a warning stating that unregulated versions of the chocolates have made it both into stores and online, and could pose a serious threat to consumers.

Counterfeit Wonka Bars have been found to contain undeclared allergens

The U.K.'s Food Standards Agency (FSA) is warning shoppers that counterfeit Wonka Bars could pose a threat to health. Following reports over the past year of the sales of unofficial bars, the agency released a statement that reads, in part, "With Easter less than a month away, it is more important than ever that parents and grandparents are aware of the risks that these bogus chocolate bars could pose to their children, particularly those living with a food allergy or intolerance. There is no way of knowing what ingredients are in these bars or what food hygiene practices are being followed by the people making or repackaging them."

The statement notes that some counterfeit bars that have been seized were found to contain allergens not listed on the label. "If you have bought these knock-off bars, do not eat them or give them to friends and family," FSA's head of incidents Tina Potter said in the statement.

This isn't the first time counterfeit Wonka Bars have been found in the U.K., with a similar scam occurring in 2013 (via BBC). The FSA notes that all official Wonka Bars will be marked by the official "Ferrero" or "Ferrara Candy Company" packaging, and that any counterfeit candies should be reported to the retailer where it was purchased.