The Hershey Co. is halting production of Ice Breakers Pacs in response to criticism that the mints look too much like illegal street drugs, the company's president and chief executive officer said Thursday.
Hershey CEO David J. West disclosed the decision during a conference call about the company's newly released fourth-quarter earnings report.
Ice Breakers Pacs, which first hit store shelves late last year, are nickel-sized dissolvable pouches with a powdered sweetener inside. The pouches come in blue or orange and bear the Ice Breakers logo.
Members of Philadelphia's police narcotics squad said the mints closely resembled tiny heat-sealed bags used to sell powdered street drugs. They charged that the consequences could be serious if, for example, a child familiar with the mints found a package of cocaine.
"Some community and law-enforcement leaders have expressed concern" about the shape of pouch and the Xylitol sweetener inside, and about the possibility of the mints being mistaken for illegal substances, West said.
"We are sensitive to these viewpoints and thus have made the decision that we will no longer manufacture Icebreakers Pacs," he said.
Ice Breakers Pacs currently on store shelves are expected to be sold out early this year and no more are being made, West said. Kirk Saville, a company spokesman, said they had been distributed nationally on a limited basis.
Hershey has said the mints were not intended to resemble anything.
Philadelphia police Chief Inspector William Blackburn, an outspoken critic of the mints, was in a meeting and not immediately available for comment, a spokeswoman in his office said.