Bubble Gum Recall

A friend told me that Benadryl had been removed from the market and I was a little worried given my dependence on the stuff during allergy season. And what a season it has been so far. Tree pollen counts at record highs in my neck of the woods in the NE section of the EEUU. To survive, I have taken to taking Clartin during the day, and Benadryl at night. When my friend said that Benadryl was nowhere to be found, in a panic, I went to the FDA website to see what I could find by way of recalls. To my relief, I didn’t see any mention of a Benadryl recall, nor any news of tainted antihistamine. While it may be true that Benadryl has been removed from the shelves of some pharmacies, it may have more to do with reports of antihistamine abuse, than bad antihistamine. But I did find something even more disturbing that has been recalled. Not disturbing that it has been recalled, but disturbing that the thing exists, and even more disturbing and ironic is the reason it has been recalled.

If you can believe it, and I certainly can’t, or maybe I can, there is a brand of bubble gum called Toxic Waste Short Circuits. Wait until you hear why it has been recalled. Brace yourself. ELEVATED LEAD CONTENT! This is why we need the FDA folks.  Anyway, when this company says Toxic Waste, they really mean it.  You have to give them props for their truth in advertising, but what on earth would possess a company to market fake (in this case, actually not fake) Toxic Waste candy. Interestingly, the product is imported from Pakistan and sold nationwide.  I didn’t know we imported anything from Pakistan.

Now, I’m not a conspiracy theorist, and this is probably coincidental, but I wonder if this candy is for export only to the “infidels” of the West.  It does appear that the recalled lots went to Switzerland, Canada and the U.S. And the concept? It’s almost as if the labeling is a bad translation or something. But the packaging gives the appearance that the product indeed is dangerous. I mean look at it – yellow and black stripes of a nuclear hazard and cartoon figure blowing a bubble perhaps moments away from an internal nuclear meltdown and explosion. Sick stuff for kids.

But this concept is nothing new. I seem to remember back in the 70’s a thing called Wacky Packs, those crazy trading cards that had the most bizarre and humorous parodies on product advertisement, clearly aimed at kids. I don’t remember if it came with a stick of gum (remember those?) usually brittle and nasty, but it may have.  How about the card depicting the Band-Ache brand that strips off skin or the can of De-Mented Rotten Tomatoes. I had collected most of those cards in the set by the age of ten. And I have never been the same since.  Maybe there was lead in the gum.  Actually, I think those card stickers liberated my mind a little bit.  There was something subversive about them and they made me think of advertising more critically, all at the tender age of 10.

So I guess I should not get on a soap box and rant against this candy maker for their product concept, but you know, they should lay off the lead.  There’s nothing funny or liberating about a gum ball full of lead.

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