Why The FSA Warned Against Buying Wonka Chocolate Bars In The UK

Many people are familiar with Roald Dahl's children's novel "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" or the subsequent movie adaptations starring Gene Wilder in 1971 and Johnny Depp in 2005. But perhaps not as many people recall the brief tenure of Wonka bars — the real-life incarnation of the story's titular chocolate bar whose elusive Golden Ticket grants Charlie Bucket an invitation to Willy Wonka's magical palace of confections. 

The chocolate bars were first attempted by Quaker Oats upon the release of the 1971 movie, but were soon pulled from production when the brand failed to nail the recipe (via HuffPost). A few years later in 1975, the now-defunct Willy Wonka Candy Company (a division of Nestlé) tried to take up the torch by creating their own version of the Wonka bar, which, according to Sky News, was discontinued in 2010. 

The Willy Wonka Candy Company hasn't returned to revive the Wonka bar, but this past year, droves of the stuff started appearing in the UK, where "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is set. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) — the UK government organization that "makes sure food is safe and what it says it is" — swooped in to warn shoppers against purchasing the bars. Here's why. 

The unregistered bars may contain unlisted allergens

According to the Food Standards Agency, the individuals or organizations responsible for producing these counterfeit bars are not registered with the FSA. That means the fake Wonka bars could be "contravening food hygiene, labelling and traceability laws." Namely, the FSA warns that some of the bars have been found to contain ingredients that aren't listed on the labels, posing a potentially serious threat to people with food allergies. According to Mirror, some of the tricksters seem to be unwrapping non-Wonka candy bars and slipping them into fake Wonka wrappers. 

So, how can you tell the real from the fake? Aside from the fact that you won't find the discontinued candy in any store, a surefire way to spot a legit bar is by looking for an official label from Nestlé's parent company, Ferrara Candy. The FSA reports that local UK authorities are investigating these Wonka imposters, but in the meantime, it's best to put your Golden Ticket desires on pause.