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Federal Officials Raid Manhattan Stores Selling Kinder Eggs

By Amy Zimmer | April 25, 2011 10:43am | Updated on April 25, 2011 10:42am

By Amy Zimmer

DNAinfo News Editor

UPPER EAST SIDE — Manhattan candy sellers had their Kinder eggs confiscated in raids by Consumer Product Safety Commission last week, DNAinfo has learned.

The businesses, which sold the hollow milk chocolate eggs that contain a toy in a plastic capsule, were profiled by DNAinfo last week. The CPSC has banned the eggs, which are popular abroad and made by Italian manufacturer, Ferraro, because they are viewed as a choking hazard.

At TriBeCa's gourmet Jin Market, the CPSC seized a box of Kinder eggs, which have labels saying for children three and up.

"They said it's illegal," said Joseph Ramirez, who works at Jin Market. "They took it out of the store."

Jigs Patel, who recently opened the London Candy Co. on the Upper East Side, where he is importing candy from the U.K., had already run out of his Kinder eggs by the time he got his visit from a CPSC official just before Easter.

"They obviously took this very seriously," Patel said. "I actually found it very amusing. It's a bloody chocolate with a toy inside. It's not smuggling crack cocaine."

He said that customers in the store that day found it funny, too.

"They were like, 'Don't they have better things to do than hunt down Kinder eggs?'"

The phone at London Candy Co. rang off the hook after DNAinfo's article ran with people seeking the hard-to-find chocolates.

"The phone went nuts," Patel said. "The people still want it."

One reader posted a comment on DNAinfo saying he was going to start a campaign to petition the government to "stop this nonsense."

"I loved these when I lived in Germany, and I can't share this with my wife because of stupid laws like this," wrote David Brancecum Jr. "There are a lot of dangerous things in this world, but we adults don't need a nanny state."

At least two children, one in England and one in Ireland, died after choking on the toys roughly 20 years ago, according to reports.

Consumer Product Safety Commission spokeswoman Stacey Palosky confirmed officials visited London Candy Co., Jin Market and the Lower East Side's Economy Candy, but did not confirm how many Kinder eggs were seized in the visits.

"It is an ongoing investigation," Palosky said. "We want to continue to alert parents about these around Easter. We want parents to know these should not be in children's hands."

Patel remained a befuddled about the ban and thought parents should bear the ultimate responsibility for their kids.

"I grew up around Kinder eggs," said Patel, who was raised in London. "I even remember putting the plastic container [with the toy] in my mouth and trying to pop it open. My parents smacked me outside the head and said 'Don't do that.' I never did it again."

He admitted that he had considered re-ordering them, but the inspection changed his mind.

"It's not worth it," he said. "I can find other stuff that kids like."