A confectionery company has been forced to withdraw its sweets from New Zealand's South Island after they were discovered to be shaped like penises.
The trouble started when Dutch Rusk imported 7,200 bags of mixed gummy sweets, called Dragon Sweets, from a Chinese manufacturer about six weeks ago. The sweets were distributed to stores around the island.
But soon after, the complaints started rolling in. Customers said that some were shaped like a penis complete with testicles, whereas others were well-endowed jelly babies. "I don't find anything amusing about it at all. I find it disgusting," one customer told the New Zealand Herald.
Dutch Rusk managing director Willem Van de Geest said the company hadn't been aware of the unconventional shape of the sweets. "You have to look at it two or three times to think that doesn't look right," he said. The sweets have now been recalled and dumped, and Dutch Rusk has been refunded by the manufacturers.
Van de Geest said the sweets had been sent in good faith from China, where a penis is considered a sign of fertility and good health. "They wouldn't even blink an eyelid," he said. "We see it as offensive. We don't mind a hand or a foot being part of a lolly but we object to a breast or a penis."
Risque confectionery is of course widespread - Ann Summers does a roaring trade in chocolate willies every Christmas. But this does present problems when naughty nibbles fall into the wrong hands. Last year, a Cumbria father was outraged when he spotted Camel Balls on the shelves of a local shop - with the packaging clearly displaying the animal's private parts.
But sometimes customers find offence where none was ever intended. In 2009, one father wrote to the Daily Mail to express his outrage over the packaging of Haribo's Maoam chews - complaining that the lemon and lime on the packaging were "locked in a carnal encounter". And, earlier this year, Haribo withdrew liquorice sweets shaped like faces from Scandinavian countries after customers complained that they were racist.
Sometimes, sweets turn out to be more sinister. Last month, for example, prescription pills were found mixed with Jelly Tots on a Nestle production line - although none made it out of the factory and onto the shelves.
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