5 On Your Side

Raleigh woman upset after object found in candy

Posted February 19, 2015

— Anytime something unusual is found in food, it is disconcerting - but not uncommon.

A Raleigh woman and her daughter found a mysterious object in their bag of Valentine conversation hearts.

Mary and Tara Needham say they found a round piece of mysterious candy at the bottom of the candy bag while feeding the heart shaped pieces as a treat to their mini horses.

"As I got to the bottom of the bag I started finding these little, funny, round pieces," Tara Needham said. Mary Needham said she tasted one and that “at first it didn't have any flavors."

Mary Needham said she got concerned when she started to feel a burning sensation on her tongue.

"It started tasting really chemically and it burned my tongue. I thought, ‘OK, that's it. I’ve got to do something,’ so I write to Brach's," she said.

Mary Needham said she emailed the company and messaged them on Facebook. When they did not get back to her as promised, she contacted WRAL's 5 On Your Side.

5 On Your Side contacted Brach's parent company, Ferrara. A spokesperson said an internal review was launched after they heard from Needham.

"Our customers are our top priority and we are committed to delivering great tasting snacks and confections that customer love," Ferrara said in a statement.

Mary Needham sent the mystery items to the company to be tested. The spokesperson said the items turned out to be "natural mints" produced at the same plant and that they were inadvertently mixed with the conversation hearts. Brach's also sent the Needhams other candy and coupons after they heard of the mix up.

Needham says she’s glad to know what the pieces were, but will now keep the hearts in a clear bag to make sure their mini horses only get the treats they love.

With the millions of tons of food that's processed by humans or machines, the reality is, things happen. We recommend that if you come across something unusual return it to the store or contact the manufacturer.

And here's food for thought, the FDA actually has acceptable levels for what it calls "naturally occurring defects..." like mold, insect fragments, even rodent hairs.


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  • Nancy Mallett Feb 28, 2015
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    I agree with another poster. Who finds a mystery pill looking item mixed in with candy and decides to put it in their mouth? Gotta be a special kinda stupid to do that.

  • Beth Pearce Feb 24, 2015
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    Just say "NO!" to GMOs! LOL!!!

    (Strawberry Letter 23)

  • Kimberly Rabbeni Feb 24, 2015
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    Why would any candy produced cause burning of the tongue? It seems that even if it was another candy produced by Brachs and got "mixed up" with the conversation hearts, a burned tongue would be unacceptable.

    Second question, if you didn't know what it was and knew it didn't belong why would you put it into your mouth?

  • Maddie Gattis Feb 24, 2015
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    This is news? She was so disturbed by it, that she had to eat it. first world problems, much?

  • Mary Needham Feb 21, 2015
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    Dear Ron and Jay Jay,
    I cordially invite you to taste one of these "candies". We didn't send them all in. Would you give one to your child or pet without caring what it might be? This is how kids get sick and parents sue. I was trying to prevent that from happening. And JayJay, from the very beginning, I told WRAL I was NOT after a refund or suing anyone. I wanted to make the company fess up. First time quality. Ever heard of that? What part of being concerned don't you get? Are you that callous? This is the mint the candy company claims they are Form Image Compare with the photos in the story. You be the judge.

  • Roy Hinkley Feb 20, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    She found a candy in her candy.

  • John Jay Feb 20, 2015
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    Imagine her disappointment when it was discovered to be a mint and her hopes of an easy payday disappeared.