The Hershey Co. said Friday it is considering changes to the design of a mint that Philadelphia police say looks nearly identical to a tiny heat-sealed bag used to sell powdered street drugs.
The revelation by the nation’s largest candy maker came a week after the criticism surfaced about Ice Breakers Pacs, although a Hershey spokesman would not specify the exact concerns that prompted the company to act.
“It was certainly never our intention to create any confusion with this product,” company spokesman Kirk Saville said Friday. “We take consumer and community feedback very seriously and are acting quickly to address concerns.”
Hershey at first 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 earlier this week.
Ice Breakers Pacs, which first hit store shelves last month, are nickel-sized dissolvable pouches with a powdered sweetener inside. The pouches come in blue or orange and bear the Ice Breakers logo.
Police warn of dangers
The firm said Friday the mints were never intended to resemble anything — but the similarity was so striking that longtime veterans of Philadelphia’s police narcotics squad were fooled when they saw the mints.
Philadelphia police Chief Inspector William Blackburn last week said the mints glorify the drug trade. And he warned that the resemblance could have consequences if, for example, a child familiar with the mints swallows a heat-sealed bag of cocaine.
“If Hershey is considering changes, that’s a good thing, that’s the prudent thing to do,” Blackburn said Friday. “And that’s what we wanted — we wanted to prevent a tragedy.”
After Philadelphia police went public with their concerns, they heard from law enforcement agencies from as far away as Kansas City, Blackburn said. One of his narcotics officers, Linda Wagner, whose child died of a drug overdose, wrote letters to numerous elected officials and Hershey, he said.
Saville wouldn’t say whether the company has been contacted by any law enforcement officials about the appearance of the mints.