BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — One local consumer advocate is planning on contacting the FDA after someone alerted him of one Valentine's Day treat violating federal law.
One man reached out to Edgar Dworsky, the founder of ConsumerWorld.org, after he purchased a box of Whitman chocolates and was surprised to find far less chocolate than he expected when he looked inside the box. Dworsky said the practice is actually banned by the federal government as a part of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
"A reader wrote to me and said he bought a 5.1-ounce box of Whitman sampler and when they opened the box he was shocked there were only 11 pieces of candy in it," Dworsky told WBZ's Tina Gao.
The purchaser said the box was 9 by 10 inches, misleading him to believe there would be more chocolate inside.
The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act bans companies from "slack fill" or using packages larger than necessary that can mislead consumers. Regulators determine if a product is "slack-filled" by comparing the number of items in a package to the capacity of the package. If there is excess space that is considered "nonfunctional" it goes against the federal law.
Dworsky said the only way to truly know if you are getting the amount of product purchased is by weighing it.
"The lesson here for consumers is to check the net weight on the label so you are less likely to be misled by packaging tricks. In addition, some retailers’ websites have pictures that show exactly what is inside some of these heart-shaped boxes," Dworsky wrote on Mouseprint.org.