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May 23,  2002


(SafetyAlerts) - The Food and Drug Administration conducted a seizure of all New Choice Food mini-gel candies at the firm's facility in Irwindale, California. This action was taken after the agency determined that this product presented a choking hazard.

To date, the company has not recalled the product. These candies are distributed nationwide to large retail establishments, Asian and Hispanic markets, and sold internationally. They are packaged in small sealed plastic cups.

"The FDA has had this product seized so that these choking hazards will not be distributed to the public", said FDA Deputy Commissioner Dr. Lester Crawford. "They pose an unacceptable risk to U.S. consumers."

These candies contain the ingredient "konjac" (also known as conjac, konnyaku, yam flour, or glucomannan). The FDA and staff physiologists from the Consumer Product Safety Commission consider this type of candy to pose a serious choking risk,particularly to infants, children and the elderly.

Unlike gelatin products commonly found in the United States, these candies do not readily dissolve when placed in the mouth. There have been six children's deaths reported from choking in the U.S. associated with this type of gel candy. There have also been reports of deaths in other countries.

The candies seized today are sold under the brand names New Choice Mini Fruity Gels, Yummy Choice Fruit Gel Snack, and Sheng Hsiang Jen (Chinese label) Conjac Coconut Jelly in the following flavors: apple, grape, taro, lychee, peach, pineapple, mango, orange, lemon, strawberry, and as "assorted" flavors.

Each gel cup is about the size of a single-serve coffee creamer. The gel cups are sold in 250 gram (8.75 oz) and 300 gram (10.5 oz.) plastic bags or in 1100 gram (38.5 oz.) and 1500 gram (52.5 oz.) plastic jars. Some labels of these products have a warning suggesting that they are a choking hazard, and some labels state that they should not be consumed by children of various ages, ranging from 3 to 6 years of age.

The State of California Food and Drug Branch embargoed a large amount of this product at the Irwindale, California warehouse.

In August and October 2001, the FDA issued general warnings against consuming mini-cup gel candies that contain the ingredient "konjac." Other firms have voluntarily recalled these gel candies.

Although the agency issued an import alert to address importation of these candies in October 2001, some candies imported prior to the import alert may still be in the US market.

These candies are sold under various brand names, distributed by various companies. The FDA continues to investigate and follow-up on this issue.

Source: FDA

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The information contained herein has been obtained from sources that the Company believes to be reliable, however, the Company has not independently verified or confirmed the information and the recipient acknowledges that no representations or warranties are being made in connection with the use of the information.