Some companies don’t seem to hesitate when it comes down to maximizing profits. Consumers’ health doesn’t matter. You have to be vigilant, continuously expect to be taken advantage of, even with – or especially with – something as innocent looking as gummy bears.
Some of you may know that I am a huge fan of Haribo gummy bears. While I still lived in Munich, I used to go through a pound of those per week. Then we moved to Fort Wayne, and my initial joy about finding “Haribo Gold Bears” in local grocery stores was immediately stifled when I realized they tasted very different. Reading the ingredients list on the package, I noticed that these Haribo gummys sold in the USA contain artificial colors you shouldn’t eat. Things like yellow #5, red #40, or blue #1, are nothing I would want to consume daily.
So I started to search for sources online. When I learned that Haribo produces gummy bears for the US market in Turkey, where regulations aren’t as strict, and consumers aren’t as “picky”. I thought that simply checking for “made in Germany” would be the safe way to go, if I wanted to keep eating Haribo’s gummy bears. I started ordering my beloved “Goldbären” on eBay and Amazon, paying about $15 for a pound of gummy bears, directly imported from Germany – no artificial colors involved.
Today, however, I found out that simply looking for “made in Germany” is not sufficient anymore! A colleague brought a bag of Haribo gummy bears into the office to share, claiming that they were the “real thing”, made in Germany. The label did really say “made in Germany” for Haribo USA. But the ingredients where the same as that stuff they make in Turkey. Apparently, if you produce candy for the USA, you can now get away with using harmful chemicals, even if production happens in Germany.
From now on I’ll be extra careful when buying Haribo. Not just “made in Germany”, it has to be imported from Germany, sold in Germany, and without artificial ingredients.