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Inside the Middle East
June 26, 2012
Posted: 1115 GMT
Rows of chocolate-filled syringes with fake Nutella packaging as posted on www.souq.dubaimoon.com
Rows of chocolate-filled syringes with fake Nutella packaging as posted on http://www.souq.dubaimoon.com

Chocoholics beware! There's a new take on the idea of "getting a chocolate fix."

Emirati newspapers Tuesday are flashing alarming headlines like "don't buy chocolate spread in syringes," "chocolate needles alarm bells,"  and "illegal chocolate syringes spark sharp response."

The Dubai Municipality has issued a stern health warning against buying or consuming (or presumably injecting!) chocolate-filled syringes after the photos above were circulated among UAE residents via blackberry, smartphones and social networking sites.

The photos show rows of syringes filled with what looks like chocolate, carrying the familiar label of the hazelnut chocolate spread Nutella. Regional distributors of the Nutella brand have issued fervent denials to the press that their product is in any way connected to these syringes and that there is no way they would be marketed or sold to consumers.

In a statement released by the municipality yesterday, the head of the food control department at Dubai Municipality said the civic body was working with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Environment to take necessary action.

Some newspapers are reporting similar images dating back a year; but it might have been this online ad in the classified section of a local online shopping site that sparked this recent frenzy.

Posted June 15, it tells buyers to hurry up and get their choco-shots! Only 10 Dirhams! (about $2.70)

We called the number on the ad and got through to 17-year-old Abu Dhabi resident Salem Al Mihri. He told us that it was indeed him who was selling the candy contraband online.

"But what about the Dubai Municipality health warning?" I asked.

"What health warning?" Al Mihri asked. He hadn't read today's papers.

He claims he came up with the idea a few months ago while hanging out with friends – he considered it an entrepreneurial inspiration. Al Mihri says he bought the syringes from the pharmacy, filled them with Nutella spread and added and label and voila!

He says he sold all 30 of his creations to cousins – not the general public . Since our conversation, the photo on the ad has been updated to say "Sold Out."

Oh, and he was very insistent that the syringes were totally "sterile" and did NOT have hypodermic needles attached.

"It's a fun way to eat them, squeeze them out of the syringe, of course I didn't mean it as an injection!"

Al Mihri assured us this was an one-off idea done for fun. So the Dubai Municipality and the general public can rest assured that these fake products are NOT for sale (no guarantees that there won't be another copycat with an "entrepreneurial spirit")

Al Mihri says he'd like to go to university where he hopes he'll learn to be a businessman and where we hope he'll learn about trademark infringement and food health & safety.

Meanwhile, our final thought on the matter might be best reflected in this tweet...

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Filed under: Health •Social Media •UAE


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Jc   June 26th, 2012 12:43 pm ET

Okay. Interesting but slightly pointless story. Nutella should actually thank him for coming up with a slightly quirky but fun idea for an add. I've often times said if I could inject chocolate (but still taste it somehow) I would.

Same for Coffee on drip. Nestlé?

ryanjenningsnz   June 26th, 2012 1:00 pm ET

This isn't the first time I've seen needles filled with yummy filling. A cafe opened up in our neighbourhood selling them along with a donut that you 'injected' the rasberry or custard filling into yourself at the table. The restaurant is called Mister D's: http://tweet2eat.co.nz/2012/04/mister-ds-in-napier/ and the DIY donut filling using syringes has been quite a talking point around town!

Inder Sevani   June 26th, 2012 2:38 pm ET

Important news...please read teh article

Darketernal   June 26th, 2012 3:22 pm ET

Wow, just wow.

anna   June 26th, 2012 4:03 pm ET

Funny, a very similar thing is a real product here in Turkey. I wish Nutella would start producing these, the stuff in the syringes sold here (in major markets mind you) is just a tad too sweet :)

GBonino   June 26th, 2012 4:46 pm ET

@Jc
Nutella is made by Ferrero (an italian company), not Nestle.

Ryan   June 26th, 2012 8:56 pm ET

I cannot believe that a bunch of well-paid, well-estabished and recognized newspapers and other media outlets would even publish such a story (I am talking about the initial outcry when newspapers were going crazy on 'Do not buy illegal nutella syringes'). Are you kidding me?! They took a bunch of pictures that were being bbmd and posted on social media sites and automatically assumed it to be true. What a bunch of nonsense, given the rate at which rumors/photoshopped pictures spread these days I'm surprised no one had the common sense of ensuring what the actual story was before pointing fingers at Nutella, the brand. Anyways, I guess people with common sense ignored the false accusations but kind of disappointed in the way the local media portrayed the news.

Richp   June 26th, 2012 9:16 pm ET

If it's not dark chocolate I won't waste my money....

guesta1   June 26th, 2012 11:05 pm ET

I have seen something similar in a bar.

The syringes don't have any needles attached to them.

Rather they are filled with shots (vodka, ron, tequila....) and people drink the licor that way.

Mo   June 27th, 2012 6:17 am ET

Middle Eastern ingenuity, once again, at it's finest, folks!

Steph Lippitt   June 27th, 2012 4:17 pm ET

In New York, there is a place called Max Brener's chocolate that already sells milk chocolate in giant syringes. They're really fun, and it's a great way to spread the chocolate onto cakes or cookies. Plus, they make great gifts for doctors.

warsteiner   July 2nd, 2012 1:40 pm ET

This is pretty retarded,Who would actually inject anything like this into a vein. I think it is a great way to rid the world of people who dont have anything wrong with their brains but are retarded.

Jaime   July 11th, 2012 12:21 pm ET

What a genius.... NOT...

thespectatorssport.wordpress.com/   July 13th, 2012 1:30 am ET

Why are they making a big fuss? The article is kind of ridiculous...

But, people really do love Nutella!

Karyn Fouquet   August 10th, 2012 2:11 am ET

We're a gaggle of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your site offered us with valuable information to work on. You have done a formidable process and our entire neighborhood will be grateful to you.


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