A toy jeep sold at the candy counter of a mass-market outlet in Georgia has a pill bottle that is filled with objects that look like pills in an apparent attempt to encourage children to think of potentially dangerous pills as candy.
While shopping at his Sandersville, Georgia, Wal-Mart, Outdoor Writer Wm. Hovey Smith noticed among the candies at the check-out station an appealing camouflaged model of a WW II Jeep with a transparent plastic bottle on the back filled with what appeared to be pills. Contained in the sealed screw-topped bottle were 51 white, yellow and green pill-shaped objects which were described as candy on the product label.
Smith immediately purchased one of the toys and took it to the customer-service desk and asked to speak to the store manager. He explained to the manager than these looked so much like real medications that they could be construed to be nothing else. The result would logically be that the toy would encourage preschool age kids to think that all pills were candies. Smith thought that there was a real danger of active 3-year-olds raiding their families medicine cabinets looking for more.
The local store manager agreed. He said that he would contact Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, and ask for permission to removed the product from his store’s shelves. In addition he said that this could also result in this product being withdrawn.
The nation already has what the Centers for Disease Control and President Trump has described as a opioid epidemic.” This product’s candy pills can encourage children to think of medications as candy and contribute to even more overdoses in children. This is especially dangerous as a child may come down with symptoms and not be able to tell anyone what medications he took.
While visiting his local dentist, chiropractor and veterinarian, he showed the toy to professionals in these offices and found universal agreement that this product should not be sold. His local vet called it , “A really bad idea.”
An attached label revealed that the toy was the “Tough Traxx Off-Road Vehicle with Candy” distributed by Frankford Candy LLC. of Philadelphia, PA. The contents of the pills were listed as being Dextrose, Sugar, Maltodextrin, Corn Syrup, Gum Arabic, Citric Acid, artificial flavors, artifical colors and Titanium Dioxide. The company’s website is listed as http://www.frankfordcandy.com. The product is also labeled “Product of China,” but does not definitively state the origin of the candy pills.
After a half-hour of trying he managed to contact the Customer Service Department in Bentonville, and lodged a formal complaint (no. 171030011163). The person at the help desk said that this information, “would be forwarded to her superiors.”
In the meantime Smith also contacted the Environmental Health Specialist at the Washington County Health Department who informed him that this was not in her jurisdiction, but provided a number for the State Department of Agriculture who had jurisdiction over matters of retail trade. No one was available at the Gainsville office to take the call as of the close of business on Monday.
I encourage all who read this to contact their local stores and request that this product be pulled. If you would like a copy of this photograph or for more information in regards to a story for your local media contact me via E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.