(LEBANON, N.J.) — Kinder Surprise eggs — the chocolate delicacy filled with a (surprise!) toy — have had a big impact on people’s lives. Consider the Winnipeg woman who nearly paid a $300 fine when she tried to cross the Canadian-U.S. border with one (the candy is illegal in the U.S., but more on that later). Or the highly creative man who used one to propose to his girlfriend.
Or the New Jersey businessman who loved them so much he wanted to make sure future generations of American children could enjoy them as much as he does.
That would be Kevin Gass, the co-founder of Candy Treasure LLC, a Lebanon, N.J., candy company. About a week ago, Gass unrolled Choco Treasure, a Kinder-inspired chocolate egg with a toy inside. This is a big deal, because this type of product hasn’t been legal in this country since 1938, when the Food and Drug Administration passed the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which prohibits any “non-nutritive component” (for example, a toy) from being embedded in a confectionary product, as the Foodbeast reported.
Gass figured out a way to legalize his new product.
“This is the biggest kids’ candy in the world, and we think it tastes great. It’s fun, and we spent quite a bit of time to make it safer and also as much fun as the original,” Gass told ABC News, adding that he worked with the FDA and a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission certified lab to make sure the product was safe for children of all ages. To wit: Submerged inside each egg is a capsule that separates the two halves of the chocolate. The capsule also has ridges around the side, so even a young child can tell there’s something there.
Other than safety, one of Gass’s biggest challenges was finding a toy that would appeal to adults and kids alike, even though children are the target audience.
“Young kids love stickers. Adults don’t want stickers,” said Gass. So he and his team have come up with gizmos that offer something for everyone: A mini deck of cards–all 52 of them! A tiny 3-D puzzle. A teensy little rubber squirty toy.
So far, the Choco Treasure, which costs between $1 and $1.49, can be found on the company website, at Target and SuperValu stores, and at Economy Candy, in Lower Manhattan.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Paul R. La Monica, CNN
Patrick Ary, WAAY
Jackie Wattles, CNN
Parija Kavilanz, CNN