After Being Banned, Kinder Eggs Are Coming To America
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Kinder Eggs are coming to America.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Wee.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Kinder Surprise from Ferrero.
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
These are hollow chocolate eggs made by the Italian candy maker Ferrero. The Kinder Surprise is a kind of egg with a collectible toy inside. It is sold in many parts of the world, just not in the U.S.
CORNISH: That's because for years, the Food and Drug Administration has banned the Kinder Surprise. It's considered a choking hazard due to the mix of edible and non-edible parts.
SHAPIRO: That ban has not stopped traveling Americans from sneaking them in.
JOE WOS: They're just the most perfect item in the universe.
SHAPIRO: That is self-proclaimed Kinder Egg smuggler Joe Wos of Pittsburgh, Pa. He's been doing this since the 1990s, usually just in small amounts.
CORNISH: Except that one time on a trip home from Belgium.
WOS: I went really big. I decided to purchase a couple boxes of Kinder Eggs.
CORNISH: Kinder contraband. Wos was stopped in New York. Customs officers confiscated the eggs.
WOS: Finally, they said I could have the toys provided I ate all the chocolate. And it wasn't even a situation where they said, throw out the chocolate, you can get the toys. They wanted to see me suffer, so I had to eat 20 chocolate eggs.
SHAPIRO: That doesn't sound like suffering, that sounds like a dream.
CORNISH: Hopefully Wos won't face that choice again. Next year, a slightly different version of the Kinder Surprise will be sold in the U.S. It's called the Kinder Joy. It's still shaped like an egg, but inside there are two separate sealed halves.
SHAPIRO: The food and the toy won't touch. That was the problem with the Kinder Surprise.
CORNISH: For Wos, the Kinder Joy a step in the right direction. He'll be able to get his fix legally, even if it's not quite the same as the Kinder Surprise.
WOS: I hope it'll be enough. You know, I'd hate to have to return to a life of crime.
SHAPIRO: And a word from U.S. Customs about the Kinder Surprise. They would like to remind us that this version of the Kinder Egg is still verboten, a no-go.
CORNISH: But they are hoping the new Kinder Joy will bring them some relief. In one year alone - 2015 - they confiscated about 30,000 Kinder Surprises. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.