The lolly that sums up the global agriculture disaster and health crisis

Sometimes you come across a lolly. I don’t believe it is anyone’s fault for grabbing things like this for putting together party bags, or grabbing for a kids’ party or play date, it first off has to be said. We only know what we know, and we do what the norm is to do. Sometimes it’s because of illness that we wake up, sometimes because a documentary touched us that piqued our curiosity, but if we’ve not been exposed to any of this stuff, we might think we’re safe to assume that if it’s on the shelf, then it’s been approved through rigorous testing and safety standards and isn’t that fair enough? I believe it should be.

Sadly, it just isn’t the case and there’s some crazy stuff out there these days – especially compared to even 20 – 30 years ago, and if I can help raise awareness, then I will.

Wonka Laffy Taffy… Grape flavoured. I always turn these things around and scan ingredients to help anyone down the track if they ever ask me about that brand – the more I can help, the better. I was in no way prepared for just how bad this innocent little number would be. Sit down, I’m not going to hold back. Here’s the breakdown.

It has in the top right corner there on the front “Jokes on every wrapper” – I believe you’ll find the joke is IN everywrapper. A super cruel joke.


Corn Syrup. Many people in Australia thing “oh, we don’t have to worry about GM foods here”. Well, sadly we do and if you buy packaged foods from big companies, or companies owned by big companies (Shop Ethical app will help you with that info) then yes, you do have to worry. There are GM ingredients in half the supermarket. Corn syrup in an imported American lolly is most certainly genetically modified origin. 88% of US corn is now genetically modified. If you want a crash course in genetic midification – history and effect of the planet, this talk “Planet on a plate” is the best hour you can spend on getting up to speed. The sooner we know, the sooner we can fix this! Want a great local resource on GMOs with some simple definitions created by qualified people in the know? READ HERE.

Sugar. When it’s just ‘sugar’ written on an ingredient list and again, from an American company, it is most often sugar beet, 91% of which is genetically modified. When I was a kid the lollies were plain old cane sugar. A little sugar is the least of our problems compared to this weirdness.

Palm Oil. Unless it says ‘certified sustainable’ which even then is sadly often questionable, then I’m afraid it’s causing some serious distruction to ecosystems, namely the animal life such as the beautiful orang utan population. For more information on that HEAD HERE.

Mono and Diglycerides – Fats used to extend a products’ shelf like, made from either soybean oil, palm oil or cotton seed oil… So GM, or forest destroying, or GM. Awesome!

Hydrogenated Cottonseed oil – Oh. My. Wow. When I thought it couldn’t get worse! Once again, genetically modified for certain, given it’s an American company and cotton is over 80% GM now in the US. AND hydrogenated fats are trans fats – The worst kind of inflammatory fats around!

Soy lecithin. Again, GM derived, given it’s an American company and 88% of American’s soy is GM now.

Salt. Something recognisable. Wow. I’m going to take a guess and say I don’t think it’s celtic sea salt or himalayan though.

Artificial Flavour – Could be anything!

Blue 1 – Derived from petroleum. Oh yay! Artificial and can cause asthma, gastrointestinal upset, suspected carcinogen, suspected mutagen, suspected neurotoxin, can cause rash or hives (chemical maze)

Red 40 – Derived from petroleum. Can cause eczema, rash, hives, asthma, behavioral problems, hayfever, hyperactivity (red cordial syndrome) and learning difficulties.

These two colours are banned for use in food production throughout Europe. This list of adverse effects are ‘possible’ and ‘can be caused by’, they are not definite, I do want to make clear. My source for their documented effects based on research studies source, is Chemical Maze.


And that’s it. That’s what’s in there.

There’s a first for everything I guess, including swearing on my blog: FUCKITY FUCK FUCK FUCK. What the fuck is this little processed packet of weirdness? It’s actually the world’s agricultural, manufacturing giants and health problems in a purple plastic wrap. It’s sad. It’s horrible. It’s so wrong that this be revered as a ‘good time’.

Just because this has become common, let’s not start calling this normal. If only this was just a couple of times per year… then our bodies might stand a chance to expell them, as we are natural detoxifiers, true – but it’s not just a few times a year anymore. It’s after sports practice and sports games these days. It’s after school, it’s every weekend, it’s at the movies, it’s at a play date, it’s at a sleep over… It’s everywhere, all the time, every day. This weirdo packet and so many like it. This is something that global health statistics tell us we’re not coping too well with at all.

Let’s not feel we are powerless to the pull of culture sending us towards these sorts of things being freely distributed to children at a party. Our kids and our planet needs us to make the decision to rise above this weirdness and say NO FRICKING WAY is this normal.

Let’s be people who look at ingredients of things before deciding whether it is fit for a child or anyone for that matter. We cannot trust these companies to make good choices for us, so WE have to learn a bit and make better choices. There is always a better choice to make. This does NOT mean no treats. It means better treats.

Let’s be people that aren’t so disconnected from nature that we find this more appealing than a delicious, ripe in season strawberry or home made cookie or cupcake from a shop that pride themselves in real ingredients.

If you’re thinking: Where on earth do I start? I had no idea it was this bad. I am panicked and ashamed and man o man this is crazy…

Then start here and read my blog post ‘It’s time to redefine treats’. 

It’s also a time to emphasise here, that there are packaged lollies and then there are packaged lollies. There’s always a better choice to make. There was also a Freddo Frog in the bag – brilliant. Innocent little chocolate compared to this weirdo thingo. Sure Cadbury is owned by a huge giant Mondelez who doesn’t exactly have our health and prosperity in mind, but for the sake of providing an idea and a gateway to investigating better party bag options, for those who still want to provide and enjoy them, there is ALWAYS a better choice, and little Fredo is one.

I am of the belief (probably because I used to eat pop tarts, chew hubba bubba and hoover microwave popcorn) that we cannot feel guilty about what we didn’t know before. We must just get excited about what we can change today and put our energy into positive action mode.

If you’re keen to get in the kitchen and explore new and delicious options, consider grabbing my e book for only $10 with loads of recipes and simple steps to going wholefood in the treats department, as I created it for precisely you in mind. This isn’t a sales pitch blog post, this is about breaking some bad news and not wanting to leave you there thinking ‘Crap, where to now, then?’.

Then, follow amazing blogs like these (and so many more!) to inspire you to make super simple, delicious treats once a week for the week;s lunchboxes and after school play dates, along with great party foods and more.

Quirky Cooking

Wholefood Simply

Against All Grain

Brenda Janschek

I quit Sugar

Wholesome Cook

Lisa Corduff In the kitchen

Clever Cook 

Or dare I say my blog for treat ideas (recipe tab, and ‘sweet treats’ under that drop down. Hundreds of good things in there!)

And then say to yourself this…

I am taking the power back. This isn’t normal. We’ve normalised it, sure, but it just isn’t normal. This is harmful to not only us and our health, but the health of the whole planet and I have the power – yes little old me – to create a ripple effect that makes this little weirdo packet WEIRD by definition from now on, not TREAT by definition.

We can do this guys. We kind of have to, don’t you think?

I’m here if you need me. Make my “I can’t believe it’s not milo” and contemplate your next exciting change while you enjoy a mug of it with real, whole milk or your favourite alternative.

Real Food. Happy bodies. Happy Planet.


p.s The Jokes on the wrapper – I bet you’re dying to know what they were, right?

What is a vampire’s favourite drink?

A Bloody Mary

What do you call a cold puppy sitting on a rabbit?

A chilli dog sitting on a bun.

Oh dear… Nearly as bad as the lolly!


Sources. All states on GM crop percentages take from documentary GMO OMG, 2014.




Comments 31

  1. Wowsers. That’s disgraceful. Let the F Bomb go all you like with that one!! I thought the humpty dumpty Easter Eggs were bad when I looked at those in a Easter blog post but wow. Speechless!!!

  2. Couldn’t agree more!!!!
    I discretly turf lolly bags when we get home from parties.
    The other day after football my son got a “wicked fizz” chew. Google that one if you want your jaw to drop.
    We are killing our kids one lolly at a time

  3. Well said Alex. It’s disgraceful! Our family have always been label readers due to the allergy aspect. So anything like this goes straight into the bin.
    I’m amazed at the amount of plastic food targeted to kids. It is becoming the norm, rather than an ocasional ‘treat’. It scares me where this will all lead if people don’t wake up and use the power of the purse to fight against this crap. If we don’t we will have a whole generation of sick people existing in a dying planet

  4. Seriously? Too much of anything is bad for you. A lolly once in a blue moon isn’t going to hurt your child (unless they have allergies) nor make them obese. What happened to moderation and common sense? It’s a lolly, not the Black Plague in a bar! Being so completely obsessive and controlling with food is only going to create feelings of food being forbidden and thus our kids want them more. By all means we should feed our kids fresh fruit and veg and teach this healthy eating and exercise. But the trend the last few years of being OCD with every morsel of food is ridiculous. Relax a bit!

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      Problem is lollies used to just be sugary treats. Not anymore… This lolly is a chemical cocktail. No good and the ‘trend’ is conscious people cottoning on to what chemical companies have started doing to food and treats. If you have time to watch Dr Vandana Shiva’s talk to understand how GMOs are affecting health and the world, you’d understand the passionate tone of the article. If only treats were still just innocent old sugar. Sadly not.

      1. Water is actually considered a chemical too. That word can be very open ended. I have not read definitive proof on the dangers of GM foods beyond conspiracy blogs. And the additives you list CAN cause issues but don’t always as a rule. Salicylates are chemicals that occur naturally in many plants, especially fruit that can cause behavioural problems too. I don’t have an issue with encouraging healthy eating. But I think you are really blowing this out of proportion. It’s a lolly with some sugar, palm oil (bad for the apes I know…) and some colours and flavours.

    2. Well that’s the thing though isn’t it… We should eat food in moderation. Food is defined as something that nourishes. When you have something like that, it has not the slightest inkling of nourishment. It doesn’t even come under the definition of food. Even most chocolate has a couple of vitamins or minerals. People are big on spouting “moderation” but when they include things you can eat that don’t even come under food it means you are eating a lot less of the actual foods you should be eating “in moderation.” This is akin to eating flavoured lip gloss and saying it’s fine in moderation. In fact, some natural lipgloss products have better ingredients then this wonka concoction!

  5. This is so sad! I’ve been accused of not providing “any party food” at a party where I made fruit and veg platters, savoury and a dark chocolate dip, homemade fructose-free crackles and fizzy tea. The kids loved them, so I was happy!
    There is absolutely nothing about that “thing” that would make it close to calling it food. Sure, there’s sugar and salt – but in a scheme of things? It makes me so angry that items like this exist. Thanks for a great post Alexx, again!

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  6. So lets see, rip away all the potential offending items and give kids a fear of foods or you know just let them be kids once in a while at parties!

    Disordered eating and eating disorders are real too BTW. Zealously monitoring everything your child eats and labelling everything as good or bad doesn’t teach children to self regulate and make considered choices. Rather the likelihood is greater than be totally awesomely healthy they will have disordered relationships with food and perhaps socially it’s gonna be somewhat awkward being different, it also may increase the likelihood of feelings of anxiety, shame and guilt. Bingeing is becoming common as a reaction to this form of black and white thinking.

    But hey not just content to food shame your child’s own friends and their parents, why not spread the love um hate with a blog to the rest of us.

    1. Completely agree. We are going to end up with a generation of highly disordered eaters well beyond our current obesity problem because our kids will grow not developing any self control or choice. Orthorexia Nervosa is the result.

      1. Orthorexia nervosa? You mean that condition invented to label people who choose not to eat highly processed foods? That condition that is “a mental health issue” even though most people who would be classed as having it have no problems whatsoever – except for people who disagree with their food choices. People aren’t expected to justify why they eat McDonald’s, but if you refuse to eat bread – you better start preparing your reasons why. There are some people who have food issues, whether it be they only eat a certain colour or texture, or even obsessing over “pure” food. Teaching kids what real food or only feeding kids real food (and by that I mean it has some degree of benefits to eating it other then they like the taste) it will not give them a mental disorder. What will though is the constant criticism of healthy, nourishing eating. I am totally go smacked at what has happened to the world. People (adults) are hiding their “healthy” eating for fear of being bullied and ridiculed, while being told they are obsessed with food and may have a mental problem. They are slammed for “denying” their children treats (?) and pressured to let them eat anything that has been solely designed to make money for a multimillion dollar company at the expense of their health and has environmental impacts in places they will never visit. I feel like I am in the movie “Idiocracy.”

        1. Well actually it’s being added to the next DSM apparently and it’s a real diagnosis. I’m not sure you even understand what it is based on your comment. People are hiding their healthy eating for fear of bullying? Please. This blog and people within certainly don’t seem like they have a fear of admitting they support healthy eating, in fact far from it. Ironically this whole entry is ridiculing and criticising the poor mother who dared put a Wonka bar in his kid’s party bags. They are slammed for not giving their children treats? Much like this woman has been for adding it? I’m sure she would be devastated to see the ridicule she’s been subjected to over a lolly. Time for everyone to get off their high horse and to see the irony of everything you just wrote.

    2. It isn’t a “fear of food. ” it’s a rational, logical decision to only feed your family actual food. I am all for my kids eating cakes, lollies and biscuits, providing they are made from actual ingredients. Our job as parents is to help our kids navigate the world so when they are adults they can make informed decisions when they are older. Teaching them that everything available is ok in moderation is rubbish. When they are adults I want them to understand what food is. At 7 and 5, they understand more then some adults…..

  7. Thank you Alexx about these links to other websites! I got many new blogger to my “followed blogger list”. Your blog is beautiful. <3

  8. I agree that this lolly bar sounds dreadful but feel very sorry for the mum who no doubt innocently put it in the party bag. You will have made her feel dreadful…

  9. Thank you Alexx.
    It seems the truth hurts!
    All of us with “sensitive children” wish every party-throwing parent knew this stuff so that we wouldn’t seem so mean when we are standing with our precious children vetting their party bags!
    Maintain the rage!

  10. Thank-you for bringing more awareness to GM foods in Australia – its not just franken-lollies that you will find them though – we get them 2nd hand through non organic meats. At my farmers market the chickens producing free range eggs are sometimes fed GM corn and soy. I only thought to ask recently! I now only buy certified organic eggs or some free range farmers know for certain there is no GM in feed and then I don’t mind buying that either. Same goes for any intensive farming – pigs, fish farms etc.

  11. “It’s got genes impregnated in the seeds…”?!?! Oh no it doesn’t. That’s not how it works at ALL! Perpetuating this kind of rubbish just stops sensible discussion on some of the real issues – and benefits – of GM.

    People without basic science knowledge shouldn’t be allowed to comment on this stuff. I’ve seen it time and time and time again. I am anti palm oil too and don’t believe in many ag practises (which is why I’m doing an ag science degree part time) but this rant displays a woefully low knowledge of real science or ag issues. I hope folks concerned on these issues will use university or scientific resources to get better acquainted with the actual problems.

    Recommend “the omnivore’s dilemma” as a good book on corn and gmo. It’s a real problem but very complex.

  12. My eldest child has just learnt to read but he cannot read “ingredients” like this, I make it my duty as a parent to do that. I struggle to read half the ingredients & I’ve been an avid label reader for about 3 years now. If we do not understand what it is or where its come from we really should think twice about ingesting it. Like you I ate lollies as a kid & processed food for most of my life, but having seen the light I’m changing the way forward for my children, I hope in time everyone becomes aware of what rubbish the supermarkets & “food” giants are trying to kill us with. I took my 4 & 6 year olds to see That Sugar Film yesterday & so glad I did. They don’t eat sugar (fructose) because I say so, now they have a better understanding as to the effects & why. Since we cut out sugar we inadvertently cut out a lot of the manufactured gloop & chemicals that it gets wrapped with. Great Blog Post Alexx, I really connect with what you say about it being everyday, all the time. When I was a kid lollies were for parties – which were a few times a year. Now everyday there seems to be a reason given for children to be given sweets like these & then a lolly bag often if chock full of them on a fortnightly basis.

  13. Alexx, I applaud you for this awesome blog post (and the initiation into blog swear words!) 😉 All too often, the excuse given is “all in moderation”. There’s nothing in these packets that has anything to do with moderation. And the saddest thing is, as you said, these are available where we and our kids are at our most vulnerable – – either because we haven’t prepared (e.g. at or after sports events), or we are in “chillax” mode (parties etc.). Keep up the fabulous work.

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  14. Nice one, Alexx…looks thoroughly foul…I can’t comment on all of the ingredients, but the truth of the destructiveness of the palm oil content cannot be overstated! Due to corruption and lack of law enforcement there is still no way of knowing whether palm oil is ‘certified sustainable’, or came directly from a company who logged lowland rain forest thanks to a permit they obtained through corrupt dealings…Palm oil is destructive, take that from a resident of Sumatra.

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      It sure is Andy. I am so sorry for what has happened to Sumatra. Interestingly I’ve come across two companies doing palm oil differently – creating farms of their own without disturbing pre existing ecologies, and creating an economy for small towns. Dr Bronner and Ecostore – Fascinating stories, especially when every second many tries to say ‘sustainable palm’ without any transparency to the source which therefore makes it about as reliable as ‘free range’ – anyway, I enjoyed seeing the proof that if you really want to do something sustainably, there is always a way.

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