From chocolate bunny to chocolate rubble

26Apr11

While trying to use up a gift card a few weeks ago, I purchased a small, bunny-shaped piece of chocolate that was on display near the checkout area. Then, this past weekend, I decided to open it. Inside the package, I found what appeared to be a solid piece of dark chocolate, with no obvious seams or other ways to actually break it apart and eat it.

After we tried to cut off a small piece with a suitably sharp knife — which proved to be futile — I had all but given up on the endeavor. I gave the chocolate bunny one last squeeze to see just how hard the chocolate was. Then I heard an incredibly loud sound as the bunny went “pop”. Pieces of chocolate landed all over the countertop and the floor.

Luckily, none of the shards cut my hands, but I was still rather startled. As I soon learned from examining the rubble, the bunny had been solid in some areas, but hollow in the middle. And since it was sealed in an airtight manner, squeezing the middle of it caused it to essentially explode in my hands.

Looking at how sharp some of the pieces were, you could easily see how a seemingly innocuous chocolate bunny could be dangerous to children and adults alike. A large portion of that danger arises from the uncertainty of how it’s made, in terms of being hollow or not. The easy solution: if a dense food product like chocolate is hollow, drill a modest-sized hole on the bottom so that customers can see that the inside is empty. And for both hollow and solid products, you can imprint the word “Hollow” or “Solid” on the bottom to eliminate any confusion.

Granted, I imagine that injuries from chocolate items are somewhat rare. But with such inexpensive methods available to eliminate the uncertainty of whether a product is hollow or not, giving customers this information seems like the obvious choice.



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