A soft, chewy candy that was linked to choking deaths and pulled from the market in October will be available again in early December in a new formula and with larger warnings on the packaging. Mannan Life Co., stopped production of its Konnyaku Batake brand konnyaku jelly Mini Cup after receiving reports of children and the elderly choking while eating the candy chilled. Similar cases had been reported in 2007.
Following the reports, three industry associations of konnyaku and confectionery manufacturers asked 19 member companies that produce or sell jelly packaged in small cups to take measures to prevent similar accidents. A standard warning label began appearing on the front of the outer packaging of the products in September 2007.
Following the latest choking death in October 2008, the warning effort was expanded by industry associations. Manufacturers of konnyaku jelly mini-cup-size products decided to put larger warnings on the outer packaging, and on each individual cup of the candy. Retailers are being asked not to display the mini-cup-size konnyaku products on shelf space next to children’s sweets.
The revised warning label says: "This product is very elastic. This product poses a choking hazard for the elderly and small children with weak chewing power." The message also says small children and the elderly should "never" eat the candy. Because the gel-like candy is often consumed frozen, an additional warning has been added: "This product gets harder when frozen. Please don’t freeze the jelly pieces."
Mannan reports it has adjusted the ratio of the ingredients in its konnyaku jelly mini cup to lower elasticity. The company also says it was pleased to learn of an online petition campaign urging the company to bring back the product. Mannan says the petition received 32,000 signatures.