IMAGE: Ice Breakers Pac
KXAS-TV
Dallas police Senior Cpl. Kevin Janse holds a packet of Ice Breakers Pac.
msnbc.com and NBC News
updated 12/6/2007 6:48:28 PM ET 2007-12-06T23:48:28

A new mint candy is posing problems for police officers, who say it bears a striking resemblance to street cocaine.

“Anything like this ... is going to give an advantage to the criminals, narcotics users, narcotics dealers," Austin, Texas, police Sgt. Richard Stresing said of Ice Breakers Pacs — tiny, blue, dissolvable packets of white mint powder that look startlingly like heat-sealed dime bags of cocaine.

The new product — which was introduced by Hershey Co. in September at the annual All Candy Expo in Chicago — is bound to make officers’ jobs harder out on the streets, said Sioux City, Iowa, police Lt. Marti Reilly.

“Obviously, it’s going to require law enforcement to do a lot of field-testing on candy,” Reilly said. “When you see it in the street, you wouldn’t know it from a controlled substance because it’s packaged an awful lot like that.”

Hershey rejected the police claims.

“The product is clearly labeled with product identification, ingredients and nutritional information and is clearly branded as an Ice Breakers item,” the company said in a statement. It did not respond to questions about whether Hershey planned to change the packaging.

‘They’ve all been full of cocaine’
The candy does come in a standard plastic package, with an Ice Breakers label, but that’s not the problem, officers said. The problem is with what’s inside.

“You are kidding me,” said Senior Cpl. Kevin Janse of the Dallas police. “I’ve been on the streets 15 years, and I’ve seen a lot of these, and they’ve all been full of cocaine, and you’re telling me this one’s full of candy? Wow.”

Janse said the packets looked so much like cocaine bags that drug dealers would be able to use them “to hide their drugs from us now, I’d be willing to bet.”

Brett Kaiser of Dallas, the parent of two youngsters, said he was worried that the candy could confuse children, too, leading to serious consequences.

Video: Cocaine or candy? “They wouldn’t be able to tell the difference if they saw that and they saw a bag of drugs on the ground,” Kaiser said as his children ran around a Dallas playground.

Reilly said that although the candy had not yet shown up on shelves in his city, “we’ve had advance notice from some other law enforcement agencies that have had problems with it.”

“It would be better for us” if Hershey pulled the product, he said.

Janse agreed.

“What happens when these drug dealers start unsealing these and putting their cocaine in them and leave them around and a kid goes, ‘Hey, there's one of those Ice Breakers,’ and puts a packet of powder cocaine in their mouth?” he asked.

“That is going to be dangerous,” he said.

By Alex Johnson of msnbc.com and Ashanti Blaize of KXAS-TV in Dallas. NBC affiliates KXAN of Austin, Texas; KTIV of Sioux City, Iowa; WCAU of Philadelphia; and WGAL of Lancaster, Pa., contributed to this report.

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