Ferrero, the company behind the Nutella brand of chocolate spread, has issued adverts in news dailies today, denying any involvement or association with the “counterfeit” chocolate-filled syringes that raised a storm last week.
A promotional message with an image of chocolate-filled syringes and branded with Nutella made the rounds in Dubai and the wider UAE’s social media circles some days ago, prompting Dubai Municipality to issue a health warning against the use of such ‘syringes’.
Ferrero, which also owns and manufactures some of the other well-known chocolate brands, including Ferrero Rocher, Raffaello, Mon Chéri, Kinder and Tic Tac, today ran adverts in local dailies disassociating itself from the product and advising public against their use.
“The company Ferrero has recently been informed by Dubai authorities of the presence of some images depicting syringes bearing a ‘Nutella’ label and containing a brown spread. Ferrero immediately confirmed to the Protocol Department of Dubai that said products are not approved and do not originate from the company,” the confectionary firm said in the advert.
“To date, these syringes have not been found on the market,” the firm confirmed, suggesting that any potential ill-effects of the product, would have been contained as it is not readily available. “A website advertising them has been contacted, in order to have the relevant account suspended,” it added.
According to the CNN Blog, the product was apparently the brainchild of a UAE student who thought it would be cool to fill a syringe (minus the needle) with the chocolate spread and sell it for Dh10 online. “He says he sold all 30 of his creations to cousins – not the general public. Since our conversation, the photo on the ad has been updated to say ‘Sold Out’,” the CNN Blog said.
But this was not before the Dubai Municipality, eager in its endeavour to protect the public’s health, issued a warning. “The Ministry of Health confirmed that the medical needles are not clean or sanitised and might be used in hospitals to take blood or inject medicine. Therefore, we strongly advise the public to purchase food products from authorised establishments only as they get approval for all food items, apart from to the periodical check up by the civic body,” said Khalid Sherif, Director of Food Control Department, Dubai Municipality.
In its ads today, Ferrero has further advised the general public to refrain from getting the chocolate fix through the syringes. “Ferrero strongly advises the public not to purchase said syringes, as they are a counterfeit product of unknown origin,” the company said.
Chocolate needles sale sparks health warning