Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The "Nutella Needle" Story

I'm not sure where to put today's Nutella syringe story. All of the UAE's English language papers have faithfully reported on a warning issued by Dubai Municipality - apparently some people have been circulating pictures online of hypodermic syringes filled with Nutella, that mixture of chocolate, hazelnut and vegetable oil that is as beloved to the Gulf as that gloopy processed cream cheese.

Newspaper language for some people have been circulating images, BTW, is 'viral'.

But it would appear Dubai Municipality has taken the images seriously, with GN's story calling the syringes 'illegal' and claiming they have sparked a 'sharp response'. Geddit? Syringe? Sharp response? You gotta love those GN subs, they nail it every time!

A spokesman for 'the company' (Gulf News is too precious to name distributor Arabian Oasis or manufacturer Nutella. The National cites both) said "It could seriously tarnish brand image and we will take action against it", according to GN's somewhat breathless report.

I'd like to see them do that. What are they going to do, sue the Internet?

I can't argue with Dubai Municipality's action in the name of protecting the public, although the words storm, tea and cup do tend to spring to mind. You can never be too careful and some nutter deciding to pack medical syringes with Nutella is just the kind of thing that could only happen here.

It's not the first time this type of image has been made, a simple Google Image Search will confirm that. In fact, the first search result is a popular image that's altogether more graphic, showing a man 'shooting up' Nutella. The gag's a simple one, 'I need a fix of Nutella'. If the local image were 'viral', it'd show up on image search, incidentally. And it doesn't.

What does show up if you do a comparative image search is an classified entry on Arabic website souq.dubaimoon.com advertising the syringes at a price of Dhs10 each. That post, linked here, hadn't been taken down at the time of writing and does, indeed, seem to confirm that some nutter is selling Nutella repacked in syringes. Of course, it could well be a hoax or prank, but the entry has a phone number against it and it would presumably be well worth a follow-up by a journalist with half an ounce of enquiring mind.

But then again, such a journalist would already have looked into the origins of the image and... oh, never mind.

Enhanced by Zemanta


Luke said...

Oh please stop writing about stories about bad food. I can't help but comment despite it not being relevant to your post.

Nutella ingredients:
Sugar, vegetable oil, hazelnuts (13%), cocoa powder (7.4%), non-fat milk solids, emulsifier (soy lecithin), flavour (vanillin)

Descending order means that it is probably over 50% sugar, 30% vegetable oil (palm oil = saturated fat).

Never really understood why anyone would put this inside themselves, let alone their kids.

Alexander McNabb said...

Sorry, Luke! And yes, you're right, there's an awful lot of oil in there. It's like those chocolate fountains, they actually mix pints and pints of oil with chocolate to get that flowing consistency.


sarah said...

Oh wow - you guys are making me really hungry. I do like the idea of Nutella in syringes though - now maybe I can inject it directly into my lips and thus avoid extra unsightly deposits on the thighs.

Gerry said...

I guess my reaction would be, how is this a story the media would cover in the first place? to me the story is how the government is reacting to the nonexistent threat posed by... a picture of nutella syringes? as if someone were going to decide to mainline a dessert spread?

Luke said...

I didn't know that about the chocolate fountains. Yuck!

Another entry to my list of reasons on why to avoid brunch buffets.....

Bobby said...

Hi, I work in the food department of Dubai Municipality. I agree with Gerry- it is a product that is not commercially produced and the issue does not require the kind of attention it got.
I would like to tell you that this was just a clarification that we made when we were approched by people. We confirmed that such a product is not being produced commercially. We get several questions like this and it is a normal procedure to clarify things even if we think the question is silly.
CNN has reported that a 17 year old boy was trying to sell a product which he thought was innovative.

Keefieboy said...

Interesting but essentially meaningless reply there from Bobby. Pass the salt, somebody.

Bobby said...

I had posted a link from the CNN blog, and that didn't appear on the message. It had some details that were missing in my comment.I am sorry about that. Let me try and clarify things in a better way
1. We received a notification from the health ministry saying that someone was selling chocolates in syringes with hypodermic needles. They wanted to know whether the product was real.
2. The pictures were being passed around via black berry messenger with a pin number that people could used to order.
3. When contacted, the person said that the product can be send to us if we pay AED 20 or we could purchase online.
4. Then there was no response until the news came out that it was a 17 year old boy who was trying to sell this.
5. Nutella issued a statement saying that they do not manufacture such a product.
6. We issued a warning stating that consumers should refrain from buying food products that are sold by unauthorised people. Check this out

From The Dungeons

Book Marketing And McNabb's Theory Of Multitouch

(Photo credit: Wikipedia ) I clearly want to tell the world about A Decent Bomber . This is perfectly natural, it's my latest...