LONDON - Haribo has confirmed that a Yorkshire man's complaint about Maoam's "carnal" sweet wrappers is genuine.
Simon Simpkins, a man from Pontefract in West Yorkshire, wrote to the Daily Mail to outline his disgust about the packaging, claiming the lemon and lime looked like they were "locked in a carnal encounter".
Haribo is also based in Pontefract and given that it is currently running a sampling campaign for a new Haribo product ChewToo, Brand Republic questioned whether the complaint might have been a publicity stunt.
However, a company spokesman said it had received the complaint via email from Simpkins as he claimed in his Daily Mail letter, and it handled it in the same way as it would any other.
The Daily Mail letter in full:
"The other day, while doing our weekly shop, I bought for my two children Benjamin and Ofelia, a packet of Haribo Maoam lemon-and-lime confectionery. It was only after I was leaving the checkout that I noticed the appalling illustration on the packaging.
This consists of a lemon and lime locked in what appears to be a carnal encounter. The lime, who I assume to be the gentleman in this coupling, has a particularly lurid and distasteful expression on his face.
I demanded to see the shop manager and during a heated exchange my wife became quite distressed and had to sit down in the car park.
I was told to register my complaint with the manufacturer. I'm glad I spotted this before my young children, who are both very sensitive.
My wife and I have always tried to maintain their innocence -- and to think our years of careful parenting could have been wrecked by, of all things, a sweet wrapper makes me livid.
I received a reply from the company saying that the wrapper design had been introduced in Germany in 2002 with a view to making the fruit figures 'more modern and lively' to 'better appeal to the consumer.' It said 'at no point was it intended to create sexual images.' It had been shown to a number of children and adults of different age groups, none of whom has made any comments referring to sexual content.
I consider this response to be less than satisfactory. As a member of our local church, I'm now urging other members of our flock to boycott Haribo products until this illustration is removed.
Pontefract, West Yorkshire"