a one-dollar lolly mix spread out on a table

Panic has beset convenience store owners and customers alike as news out of Taupo suggested the iconic Kiwi dollar lolly mix might be illegal. Dairy owner Sarah Saunders was informed that she was breaching labelling laws, and had to label each product in her dollar mixes.

This suggestion is a result of the push to properly label food items in supermarkets. The law requiring all food products to be clearly labelled has been in place since 2002, and nothing has changed in the 16 years since.

"To our knowledge, there have never been any prosecutions resulting from unlabelled mixed lolly bags,” said a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Primary Industries. “Pick'n'mix bag of lollies are one of those things that we all remember from childhood and kids are able to continue to enjoy them now and in the future. There's nothing in the law that says that shops can't sell pick'n'mix lollies."

Saunders stopped selling dollar mixes in her store after being told they were unlawful by a confectionary company representative. She was upset at the thought of having to list each product’s ingredients on the bags. “a $2 mix [has] 20 lollies, so you'd need 20 labels on that little bag... that's not happening,” she commented, suggesting she has 20 different kinds of lolly available in her store.

Many dairy owners have worked with the law for years, selling one-dollar bags full of the same kind of lolly – only one label needed.

"Yes, there's some food rules that apply, because some people can have really serious health consequences if they don't know they are eating something containing an ingredient that can kill them,” said the MPI spokeswoman. She said dollar mixes were a low-risk food.

“It’s the end of an era,” said Saunders. It’s not just children who buy the dollar mixes. "We have a lot of tradies out here that bought them for their little pick-me-up, and now they can't do it,” she explained.