You’re Not Crossing the Border with Me, Kinder. Surprise!

Image by Dmitry Valberg via Flicrk

Surprise, indeed!

Aside from all the melting snow and pothole-riddled roads, one of the best ways to determine if spring is its way to Canada is the inevitable return of Easter-themed Kinder Surprises.

Enjoyed by children and adults alike, Kinder Surprise is a two-in-one treat that consists of an unassembled toy contained within a hollow chocolate eggshell. You never know what kind of toy your chocolate egg will reveal, and half the fun of getting a Kinder Surprise is in trying to figure out how to put all the pieces together.

Image by e.r.w.i.n via Flickr

Kinder Surprise, step by step

If you’ve never had a Kinder Surprise, you can think of it as being similar to a piece of furniture from Ikea that’s really easy to put together, and comes wrapped in chocolate.

It’s never difficult to find a Kinder Surprise in Canada, as most stores carry them year-round. But when Easter is on the horizon, Kinder Surprise maxi eggs start making their way to displays in major retailers. With massive chocolate shells concealing huge toys, they’re a great score to find on an Easter egg hunt.

While Canadian kids (and adults, let’s be honest) know the joys of receiving a Kinder Surprise, Americans have long been deprived of this simple pleasure. That’s because Kinder Surprises are banned in the United States.

Yep, you read that correctly. Banned. Illegal. Outlawed.

Looks deadly, doesn’t it?

Apparently the U.S. deems the toys concealed inside the Kinder Surprise to pose such a significant choking hazard that they decided to eliminate the threat altogether by prohibiting the treat from being sold or imported into the country. More specifically, the eggs are banned because they contain a “non-nutritive object” embedded inside them, which contravenes a law enacted in 1938 that makes it illegal to conceal toys within candy.

As if being deprived on the goodness of Kinder Surprise wasn’t bad enough, numerous travellers have been detained at the American border because they attempted to enter the country with the illegal treats. The fine for being caught with a Kinder Surprise can cost you up to $2,500 USD…per egg! Apparently quite a few people are unaware of (or don’t care about) this law, as an estimated 25,000 eggs were seized at the border in 2011.

Image by Comrade Foot via Flickr

Imagine the fine for smuggling all these bad boys

In an attempt to satisfy market demand, a New Jersey-based company has developed a product called Choco Treasures that hit store shelves in time for this Easter. Very similar to Kinder Surprise, the main difference with Choco Treasures is that the two sections of the chocolate egg are clearly sectioned off to prevent children from unknowingly eating the toy within the egg.

If you’re an American reading this who is hoping to have found a substitution for your favourite illegal candy, don’t get too excited just yet. Sources say fans of the original treat won’t be overly impressed with this new product, so you might want to book a ticket to visit the Great White North before the Easter Bunny goes back into hibernation until next year.

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