Former Candy Testers Sue Cadbury For Feeding Them Experimental Sweeteners

Three former candy testers have filed lawsuits against Cadbury for feeding them some sort of experimental sweetener and other products that affected their ability to taste. They say they would like to know what the substances were.

From the Star-Ledger:

“I know they did something bad to us,” said Magliaro, of Denville. “I want to know what they gave me.”

Montville attorney Robyne LaGrotta filed three lawsuits in Superior Court in Morristown against Cadbury and Spherion Atlantic Enterprises LLC, a staffing company that hired the three Morris County women to work at Cadbury’s research facility in East Hanover. The lawsuits became public today.

Cadbury spokeswoman Katharine Beyer said the United Kingdom company, which has its U.S. headquarters in Parsippany, would not comment on pending litigation.

On the second day of testing the mysterious sweetener, one of the testers “developed eight pustules on her tongue and had a reaction under her tongue and along her right lower cheek.” The testers claim they were fired after they started asking questions about the substance and the testing procedures at a staff meeting.

“It’s as if they weren’t taking us seriously,” Zuccarini said. She said she has a chronic metallic taste in her mouth and her tongue burns if she drinks carbonated beverages or tastes mint. “I don’t know when it’s going to stop.”

Tasters file lawsuits against Cadbury [NJ]

Comments

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  1. Manok says:

    Cadbury is the secret chemical weapon testing arm of the US Govt.

  2. phospholipid says:

    I bet you anything it’s made from people. You gotta make a buck somehow, but the moment they say “experimental” and “you gotta eat it”, I think I’d ask questions.

  3. dtmoulton says:

    Do “candy testers” have any sort of ground to sue on? Isn’t this the sort of thing you know is possible when you sign up to test experimental products?

    On a side note: my buddy just got paid for completing an alcohol study. For once I’m happy to pay my taxes, knowing that an infinitesimally small percentage of it went to getting him drunk in a lab.

  4. friendlynerd says:

    They could swish with Crest ProHealth to get their taste back.

    Oh. Wait, don’t…

  5. Murph1908 says:

    @dtmoulton:
    In this job, you expect to try different recipes using standard ingredients, like praline or lime cream.

    I would think you are not signing up to try experimental chemicals. I doubt those sweeteners were approved by the British FDA.

  6. Murph1908 says:

    Scratch that.

    I doubt those sweeteners were approved by OUR FDA either.

  7. jwlukens says:

    They might not be able to sue for damages but it seems reasonable that they should at least be told what it was they ingested that way they could seek treatment.

  8. mindshadow says:

    @dtmoulton: I think when you’re a “candy tester” you’re “testing” whether the candy is delicious or if it’s going to taste horrible. If they were testing new chemicals I’m sure the company would have made them sign some kind of contract that would have prevented them from suing and probably said, “This chemical may cause permanent physical damage,” or something along those lines. From what I’m reading it seems the people thought they were brought in to do one job and ended up being human guinea pigs.

  9. whytheladyisatramp says:

    if these ladies are professional taste testers (yep, they exist and they are pretty specialized), and this is really an untested/unapproved substance, Cadbury might be in for some trouble. If there’s a link, and it has affected their ability to work, that’s a major disability claim….. not much different from when an untested bit of machinery in a shop chops a finger off or blinds someone in one eye.

  10. privateer says:

    Maybe the testers didn’t carefully read all the forms they signed when they got the jobs. I wonder if they were too excited about eating candy every day to pay attention to what the actual job duties were.

  11. Cocotte says:

    Testing that involves human ingestion is rarely at the “now let’s see if this covers their tongue with pustules” stage.

  12. celticgina says:

    >

    Isn’t that the evil company that wouldn’t pay the insurance claims?

    Zounds…what villans!!

    on a side note….Cadbury……my drug of choice

  13. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    @privateer: Even if you’re going to take the ol’ blame the victim stance, shouldn’t they be entitled to know what they put in their mouths so that doctors can try to put it all together?

  14. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @dtmoulton: Do “candy testers” have any sort of ground to sue on? Isn’t this the sort of thing you know is possible when you sign up to test experimental products?

    “Experimental” has a connotation that might confuse the issue here. There is a HUGE difference between being a product tester and being a subject in an experiment or a study.

    Here’s my take: If they were candy “tasters” then it is reasonable to expect that every single confection concoction they consumed was composed entirely of FDA approved food ingredients in approved configurations.

    If they were participating in some kind of experimental research, then each one of them should have been given a detailed, explicit description of everything they could be consuming, along with the fact that it might be experimental/non-approved/possibly dangerous. And the company should have a signed informed consent form for each of them.

    If they were candy “testers” I have to admit I don;t even know what that means. But it seems to me that regardless of what their title was, they were either a)being served food as defined and approved by the FDA, or something else. If it’s food, see my first point. If not, see the second.

  15. biikman says:

    “Soylent Green is people!”

  16. SkokieGuy says:

    And let’s not forget this is the same Cadbury’s that makes the “Creme” Eggs.

    Remember the vaguely disturbing commercials around Eater where a rabbit lays a (Cadbury’s) egg?

    And the “Creme” filling was supposed to be egg yolk ish always grossed me out, sort of like a puss smoothie.

    Unlike peeps, I have no experience putting Cadbury eggs in a microwave, I bet fun ensues!

  17. Jabberkaty says:

    Great, as if candy wasn’t bad enough for just making you fat, now it causes pustules. Damn you, Willy Wonka and all your ilk!

    *Please to note, I know the Mr. Wonka is not associated with Cadbury.

  18. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    Bah – I really should read the linked article before commenting. According to the article:

    The day they sampled the sweetener, they say Cadbury employee Maura Titone told them it was safe but not yet approved for use in the United States, according to the lawsuits.

    If they are telling the truth, and the company can’t dig up valid, applicable informed Consent forms, I’d say Cadbury is going to be offering a pretty substantial settlement to these ladies.

  19. How do you just FIRE everyone for just asking questions?

    Do you come up to them at the end of the meeting and say – You’re Fired, you are causing trouble.

    There must be more to it than this. This just sounds too heartless.

  20. SkokieGuy says:

    @Public Relations: It’s called the Federal Government.

  21. dtmoulton says:

    @Murph1908: and all.

    Thanks all. Good points.
    Guess part of the confusion came from this quote in the article:
    “In mid-March, while they were still in training, their class sampled an experimental high-intensity sweetener that Cadbury hoped would be the next big thing in flavor.”

    Guess “experimental” and the details to if they signed away any rights/knew what was being fed to them will be sussed out by the suit.

    Note to self: tAster, not tEster

  22. lalaland13 says:

    At first I pictured litigious bunnies. Lord, a long day it has been. Will Cadbury blame it on the fact that the testing happened in Jersey? “It’s New Jersey. You shouldn’t eat anything there.”

  23. thelushie says:

    Never put your name on something that you haven’t read. And, after reading the article, it seems the writer but the word “experimental” into it. I don’t know if Cadbury sees it that way.

    Still, if the courts were to rule it “experimental”, Cadbury will be paying up.

    And I would have gotten my parts to a doctor the second something was amiss…not just to a dentist that the company sent me to. To cover my own behind legally and otherwise.

  24. lordargent says:

    I’m calling BS, just a vibe I’m getting.

  25. Tankueray says:

    “It’s as if they weren’t taking us seriously,” Zuccarini said.
    But it sounds like they did sign consent forms according to the article. So they may not have a legal leg to stand on.

  26. GenXCub says:

    Cadbury Salmonella Eggs?

  27. Tank says:

    @lalaland13: are you saying anything you eat in New Jersey causes pustules??

    huh. good to know.

  28. bohemian says:

    Exactly what the substance was will be extracted from Cadbury as part of the court case. I am really interested in knowing what artificial sweetener it was and if it is actually approved for use anywhere.

    Aspartame and Splenda both have documented records of causing some really nasty reactions in people and those are the approved ones.

  29. evslin says:

    @SkokieGuy: And the “Creme” filling was supposed to be egg yolk ish always grossed me out, sort of like a puss smoothie.

    Now that you put it like that, I never want to eat one of those ever again.

  30. henrygates says:

    This is what happens when you ban animal testing.

  31. BrockBrockman says:

    Scratch #4 off my list of dream jobs.

    5. Male Model
    X. Candy Taster
    3. Paint Namer
    2. Consumerist Writer
    1. Batman

  32. usmcmoran says:

    ok first off im sure they signed a non disclosure agreement so they should not be talking about this, next they will tell about the midget/dwarf men in silly uniforms that work there, they should have taken a hint with the songs the little guys were singing
    “oompa loompa doompidy doo,
    ive got another message for you
    what do you get when you expirements you eat,
    tasting all strange and metallicy sweet,
    pustules and blisters are not all the answer,
    now its so sad that you now have cancer….
    i don’t like the look of this”
    ill be here all week

  33. godlyfrog says:

    @SkokieGuy: It’s called being a temp.

    @Public Relations: They weren’t fired, they were hired by a staffing company to work for Cadbury, and when they started rocking the boat, Cadbury asked the staffing company for different employees. This happens all the time when the workers you get are too confrontational or incompetent. First time temps often think they are the same as real employees, not realizing that companies employing temps have contracts with the staffing company, not the temps themselves, meaning that the company can just ask the staffing company for replacements without running afoul of any employment laws.

  34. thelushie says:

    @bohemian: The article says that it was safe but not approved in the US which leads me to believe it is approved elsewhere.

  35. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @Tank: are you saying anything you eat in New Jersey causes pustules??

    No, not anything. Just things that are grown in the ground. Or under the ground. Or from a lake, stream, or river. Or the ocean. Or any store with the phrase “Cash and carry” in its name.

    On second thought, you’re right – you’d best stay far away.

    Seriously, though, Jersey has a bad rap, but it’s called the Garden State for a reason. We keep all the worst sections near the major “drive through” highways, the airports and train stations so casual passers-through won’t get a hankering to move here.

  36. cmdrsass says:

    The antidote is peeps.

  37. tenio says:

    @thelushie:

    but since the lawsuit was in the US does it matter if it was approved else where?

    I mean i can’t go do something illegal just because it is legal in another country

  38. kyle4 says:

    @Murph1908: I agree. This isn’t drug testing her it’s chocolates. Cadbury will have to pay some form of settlement with this lawsuit.

  39. geekgrrl77 says:

    First they shrink the creme eggs on us, and now this?
    Jeez.

  40. mr.dandy says:

    Cads!

  41. Grabraham says:

    Just because an ingredient is not approved for use in commercial food products does not necessarily make that ingredient ‘ILLEGAL’

  42. Cliff_Donner says:

    “Pleasing taste, some monsterism.”


  43. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    I hate Cadbury candy anyways so I imagine that if I were to eat a Cadbury Creme Egg my tongue would react in the same manner as it recoiled and tried to escape the disgusting sickeningly sweet taste of a creme egg. Yeh I really do feel that way about Cadbury and Creme Eggs but a note on the actual topic here, when you take a testing job you are mainly tasting and giving opinion on taste not determining whether or not the product will permanently scar you. I taste test foods ocassionally for ZoomSurveys and never one did they give me a product that was not safe, they mostly had me try something like cereal out and one box had more nuts and one had more raisins or something along those lines. Cadbury sucks!

  44. Cerb says:

    At this point I don’t really see any reason to assume Cadbury was up to something nefarious. “Experimental” could have been something innocous for all we know and the symptoms simply hysteria. Until the lawsuit brings forth actual details of what they tested, this is essentially a unsubstantiated claim. I’m not “blaming the victim” but as far as I can tell, there really is no proof right now that there is any victim.

  45. thelushie says:

    @tenio: I was answering a question about whether it was approved elsewhere.

  46. blackmage439 says:

    CLUCK CLUCK CLUCK CLUCK CLU… What the hell? I CAN’T FEEL MY FACE!!!

  47. jenl1625 says:

    @privateer: Generally, the folks that get taste-testing jobs at places like this are NOT the “OMG, it’s a table full of chocolate – I’m gonna eat till I burst” people. It’s more like a wine tester – you have to have the ability to taste subtle things, and point out underlying tastes that most people might not notice outright (the kind of thing where I might be “I don’t know why, but I’m just not fond of that particular candy”) . . . .

    In which case, preventing this woman from tasting is putting her out of her career (probably a decent-paying career), and Cadbury should be worried about the liability for her lost earnings potential.

    The fact that she was still in training might mean this was a new career avenue, in which case she’s got far less of a claim. But if this was her profession, and she was only new to the Cadbury company . . . .

  48. AnderBobo says:

    I’m surprised nobody has mentioned that Friends episode where Monica is asked to make a bunch of stuff using “Mockolate” which is fake chocolate until the developers realize it is basically dangerous, and she has already eaten a ton of it!

  49. IrisMR says:

    I don’t think they were testers in the way that they could taste new chemicals on them or something totally harmful to their bodies… Just testing in the YUM YUMMY sector.

    I think a lawsuit is a great idea.

  50. synergy says:

    God, I hope they didn’t sign any waivers! I don’t know what are the laws in the UK, but here you can’t be experimented upon without consent and even then they have to outline what you’re doing or getting and sign off on it that you were warned. If they signed something like that, I don’t know if they’d have a legal leg to stand on.

  51. synergy says:

    Hmph. Just noticed it was here, not the UK. Yeah, they definitely better not have signed any waivers.

  52. thelushie says:

    @synergy: They have to do that here too. Informed consent is taken seriously which is why if they did experiment on them (and did not give informed consent), Cadbury will be paying dearly.

  53. lordargent says:

    jenl1625: Generally, the folks that get taste-testing jobs at places like this are NOT the “OMG, it’s a table full of chocolate – I’m gonna eat till I burst” people. It’s more like a wine tester – you have to have the ability to taste subtle things, and point out underlying tastes that most people might not notice outright (the kind of thing where I might be “I don’t know why, but I’m just not fond of that particular candy”) . . . .

    I doubt they’re supertasters ([en.wikipedia.org]) given the simple fact that they were paid $10 an hour.

    Essentially, I think they were doing the same sort of taste test work that they would have had random people off the street do.

  54. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    10 bucks an hour? That sucks. I make more than that an hour at Walmart. And my tongue doesn’t have bloody corpuscles on it and I don’t lose the ability to taste when I go home at the end of my workday.