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White Rabbit Creamy Candy
White rabbit.jpg
A pack of White Rabbit Creamy Candy
Chinese 大白兔奶糖
Literal meaning big white rabbit milk candy

White Rabbit Creamy Candy is a brand of candy manufactured by Shanghai Guan Sheng Yuan Food, Ltd. (上海冠生园食品有限公司; Shànghǎi Guānshēngyuán Shípǐn Yǒuxiàn Gōngsī) in The People's Republic of China.

Contents

Background

White Rabbit Creamy Candy is white, with a soft, chewy texture, and is formed into cylinders approximately 3 cm long and 1 cm in diameter, similar to contemporary western nougat or taffy. Each candy is wrapped in a printed waxed paper wrapper, but within this, the sticky candies are again wrapped in a thin edible paper-like wrapping made from sticky rice.[1] Although the rice wrapping layer is meant to be eaten along with the rest of the candy, it does not figure in the list of ingredients, which is limited to corn starch, syrup, cane sugar, butter, and milk. Each candy contains 20 calories.

White Rabbit sweets have been advertised with the slogan, "Seven White Rabbit candies is equivalent to one cup of milk", and positioned as a nutritional product in addition to being a sweet. The candies hence accompanied the growth of a generation. Former students of the early Deng Xiaoping era in China (1978 to the early 1990s), report taking this slogan literally and making 'hot milk' on their dormitory cooking rings by dissolving the candies in a pan of hot water.

In addition to the original vanilla flavour, new flavours such as chocolate, coffee, toffee, peanut, corn, coconut, lychee, strawberry, mango, red bean, and fruit have been added. The butter-plum flavour, characteristic of China, was also among the new flavours added through the years.

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Brand history

White Rabbit Creamy Candy originated at the Aipixi Candy Factory of Shanghai in 1943, when a merchant from Aipixi tried a milk candy from England and thought that its taste was not bad. After half a year of development, he then manufactured the factory's own brand of milk candies.

The first Aipixi milk candies were packaged using a red Mickey Mouse drawing on the label, and were named ABC Mickey Mouse Sweets. As their prices were lower than imported products, they became widely popular among the people.

In the 1950s, Aipixi became state-owned. Mickey Mouse was seen as a symbol for worshipping foreign countries, so the packaging was redesigned to feature a naturalistically-drawn White Rabbit and an artist's paint palette with Chinese and English hand-lettering in a colour scheme of red, blue and black against a white background. The result was a distinctive candy label design that became instantly recognizable around the world. The packaging and brand logo have changed over the years: When the candies were first marketed, the White Rabbit on the outer packaging was lying down; however, this was changed to an image of the rabbit jumping. Currently the trade mark animal on the outer packaging has been given enormous neotenic, forward-facing eyes in the style of Japanese manga, while the inner wrapping retains its classic art deco look and naturalistic rabbit.

Initially, production of the candies was capped at 800 kg per day, and they were manually produced. In 1959, these candies were given as gifts for the tenth National Day of the People's Republic of China. In 1972, Premier Zhou Enlai used White Rabbit candies as a gift to American president Richard Nixon when the latter visited China. Today White Rabbit candies are China's top brand of sweet.

Although the White Rabbit brand already had some history, its popularity worldwide has grown with the economy of China. Cities and agricultural villages' demands are increasing, especially during the Chinese New Year period, when many families provide White Rabbit sweets among other candies for visitors. In 2004, White Rabbit candy sales hit 600 million yuan, with sales increasing rapidly by a double-digit percentage yearly.[2] The candies are now exported to more than forty countries and territories, including the United States, Europe and Singapore.[2]

The White Rabbit brand was transferred to Guan Sheng Yuan (Group) Co., Ltd. in November 1997 [2]. The United States distributor of the candy is Queensway Foods, in San Francisco, California [3]

Product recalls

Formaldehyde contamination

In July 2007, the Philippine Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) claimed that four imported foods made in China contained formalin and should be recalled. Those listed were White Rabbit Creamy Candy, Milk Candy, Balron Grape Biscuits, and Yong Kang Foods Grape Biscuits.[4] White Rabbit claimed that counterfeit candies, known to exist in the Philippines, might have been the true culprits, and cited an independent report by the Shanghai affiliate of the Swiss-based SGS Group, the world's largest inspection and testing company, as saying that samples of candy ready to be exported overseas contained no toxic substances.[5] In Singapore, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) also stated after conducting tests that the candy was safe for consumption.[5] However, on July 24, 2007, the local Philippine distributor of White Rabbit bowed to the BFAD recall order. BFAD officials gave the distributor 15 days to implement the recall.[6] [7]

Melamine contamination

In September 2008, there were more than 52,000 reported cases of children made sick by melamine-tainted dairy products in China. Most of the children were diagnosed with kidney problems. White Rabbit Creamy Candy was listed among the many milk-based food products made in China that were contaminated with melamine and was removed from store shelves. The same form of contamination was responsible for the Chinese melamine pet food contamination scandal in 2007, during which thousands of pet dogs and cats died of renal failure after eating pet food that contained melamine.[8]

On September 24, 2008, the UK supermarket chain Tesco pulled all White Rabbit Creamy Candy from their shelves "as a precaution" in response to the melamine-contamination reports.[9] The Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety issued an advisory on the product after it tested positive for melamine in their laboratories, with more than six times the legal limit for the chemical.[10][11] Australia issued a recall.[11] The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore issued a similar advisory, [12] while also noting that although the level of melamine was high in the candy, it did not pose the same sort of danger that the contaminated infant formula did.[13] New Zealand had their product tested and although it did contain melamine, as there had been no harm done yet they were unable to recall the product. Two reporters, using the Singapore test results, calculated that "a 60kg adult [...] would have to eat more than 47 White Rabbit sweets [...] every day over a lifetime to exceed the tolerable threshold" for melamine.[13] In September 2008, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection warned consumers not to eat "White Rabbit Creamy Candy" because tests by the Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station Laboratory determined that it contains melamine.[14] Similar tests in South Africa also yielded positive results for the molecule. [15][16]

Golden Rabbit

When White Rabbit candy was returned to export in 2009, it also underwent a name change to Golden Rabbit Creamy Candy. Aside of avoiding the marketing stigma associated with the tarnished White Rabbit name, the Golden Rabbit candy is made using milk from Australia instead of China. Original White Rabbit is also being manufactured, with milk coming from New Zealand. [17]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Guan Sheng Yuan (Group) Company Limited". http://english.gsygroup.com/. Retrieved 2008-09-23.  
  2. ^ a b c "Guan Sheng Yuan Food, Ltd. Official Website". http://english.gsygroup.com/. Retrieved 2008-09-23.  
  3. ^ "Queensway Foods Official Website". http://www.qfco.com. Retrieved 2008-09-23.  
  4. ^ "Philippines bans Chinese sweets over food safety". The Peninsula (via Reuters). July 18, 2007. http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=World_News&subsection=Philippines+%26+South+Asia&month=July2007&file=World_News2007071872532.xml. Retrieved 2008-09-23.  
  5. ^ a b "Independent test shows 'White Rabbit' candy safe". Xinhua. July 20, 2007. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-09/23/content_10099626.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-23.  
  6. ^ "White Rabbit distributor bows to BFAD recall order". GMA NEWS.TV. July 24, 2007. http://www.gmanews.tv/story/52438/White-Rabbit-distributor-bows-to-BFAD-recall-order. Retrieved 2008-09-23.  
  7. ^ "BFAD, distributor discuss White Rabbit recall". GMA NEWS.TV, QTV. July 24, 2007. http://www.gmanews.tv/largevideo/home/9506/QTV-BFAD-distributor-discuss-White-Rabbit-recall. Retrieved 2008-09-23.  
  8. ^ Arthur Brice (2008-09-22). "China's tainted milk scare spreads globally". CNN. http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/09/22/china.contaminated.milk/. Retrieved 2008-09-22.  
  9. ^ "Chinese sweets axed in milk scare". MSN. September 24 2008. http://news.uk.msn.com/Article.aspx?cp-documentid=9756213. Retrieved 2008-09-24.  
  10. ^ "Test results of dairy product samples". Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety. http://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/whatsnew/whatsnew_fstr/whatsnew_fstr_Test_results_of_dairy_product_samples.html. Retrieved 2008-09-24.  
  11. ^ a b Henry Sanderson (September 24, 2008). "More global recalls from China tainted milk crisis". Associated Press. http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jL7mHkJcSHVOLlejms7eQS2xXDiwD93DJVF80. Retrieved 2008-09-24.  
  12. ^ "Consumer advisory - Update on products detected to contain melamine" (PDF). Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore. September 24, 2008. http://www.ava.gov.sg/NR/rdonlyres/9253E7B2-E57D-4992-982C-1304E73748D6/22030/CONSUMERADVISORYUPDATEONPRODUCTSDETECTEDTOCONTAINM.pdf. Retrieved 2008-09-24.  
  13. ^ a b Neo Chai Chin and Tan Hui Leng (2008-09-22). "Crying over spoilt milk". Mediacorp. http://www.todayonline.com/articles/277653.asp. Retrieved 2008-09-22.  
  14. ^ "Melamine-Tainted Candy Found In CT". http://www.wfsb.com/health/17599817/detail.html. Retrieved 2008-10-01.  
  15. ^ "Tainted sweets recalled". iafrica.com. September 24 2008. http://news.iafrica.com/sa/1067998.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-28.  
  16. ^ "Melamine found in SA food". fin24.com. September 24 2008. http://www.fin24.com/articles/default/display_article.aspx?Nav=ns&ArticleID=1518-1786_2415189. Retrieved 2008-09-28.  
  17. ^ http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_390249.html

External links


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