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Thursday, September 18, 2008
Burnaby students' junk-food business fills the void left by provincial ban
Cassidy Olivier

Canwest News ServicePublished: Thursday, September 18, 2008

VANCOUVER -- At first glance, they appear to be your average trio of teenage boys more concerned with hockey and girls than business and economics.

But come lunchtime and after school, the friends transform from awkward Grade 11s into savvy businessmen who've bypassed the provincial ban on junk food sales in schools to amass a tiny fortune.
And according to the boys -- who go by the monikers WeeMan, The Fern and Goggles -- business in the underground junk food world has been booming ever since the school bell rang two weeks ago.

The students at Moscrop Secondary in Burnaby figure they've made about $300 so far by selling classmates and teachers contraband candy, chocolate bars and potato chips -- foods which have been removed from high school vending machines under legislation that came into effect this September.

"Business is excellent and it is blooming," said Goggles, 16. "It is a great success."
"It is the best idea we've ever had," added The Fern, 16.
He said the idea to sell the banned products began as a joke when he learned about junk food ban in high schools. The ban will be extended to elementary schools in January.

But the jokes became reality when he teamed up with Goggles and WeeMan, 15, and made a bulk purchase of candy and chocolate.
Original Fresh, their business, now has its own Facebook page and the trio hand out business cards to their customers. This week, WeeMan began a text-messaging service and classroom deliveries. Yesterday, he said he made about $40.

"The kids want it and we just want to give them what they want," said WeeMan. "I'm not really into it for the money."
He said Skittles, Fuzzy Peaches and Kit Kat bars are the hot items.
Grade 8 student Anna Codrescu, whose weekly candy expenditure ranges up to $10 and who is a dedicated Original Fresh customer, said the boys provide a needed service.

"It is not like they are trying to get the whole school addicted to candy," she said. "Kids are kids and they want to enjoy their childhood. Nobody wants to eat healthy all the time."

Moscrop principal Reno Ciolfi said he's spoken with the boys and doesn't take issue as long as they don't do business on school property or from their lockers, as they'd initially been doing.

WeeMan said the group is looking to expand to neighbouring schools and possibly throughout the province. He said he's already pitched the idea to a student at Burnaby Central Secondary.
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008

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Friday, September 12, 2008
By Bridget Sweeney

Lots of candy bars are coded with secret expiration dates. It makes it easy for outdated candy to be bought by unsuspecting consumers.

Several of the major candy companies have their own special dating codes, and we've uncovered some of them for you! With some practice, you'll be able to instantly tell if the candy bar you want to buy is fresh or not.

Ferrera Pan Candy Company, the maker of Red Hots, Lemonheads, Jawbreakers, and Boston Baked Beans, posts the production date, not the expiration date on the box. Even after we tell you how to decipher the date, it's up to you to figure out if you think the candy is worth buying. They do not indicate the shelf life on their candy boxes, but we do know that Red Hots have a life expectancy of two years! A sample six digit code on a box of Lemonheads is: 8C0432 .The 8 stands for 2008. C is for March (A would be January, B February), and 04 means the fourth day of the month. The last two digits are of no concern to us.

NECCO, or New England Candy Company, uses the Julian Calendar for their production date coding. Some of their candies are: Necco Wafers, Mary Janes, Sky Bar, Clark Bar, Banana Splits, and Candy Buttons on Paper. NECCO told us that a Sky Bar has a shelf life of eighteen months. They also use a six digit code. This is a sample: 320772. The first and last digits are for company use only, and of no interest to us. The second, third, and fourth digits are the day of production, according to the Julian Calendar. This would be July 26. The fifth digit, which is 7, is the last digit of the year of production. The production date is July 26, 2007.
(A simplified compressed reference guide to the Julian Calendar is: January 001 – 031, February 032 – 059, March 060 - 090 April 091 – 120, May 121 – 151, June 152 – 181, July 182 – 212, August 213 – 243, September 244 – 273, October 274 – 304, November 305 – 334, and December 335 –365.)

Farley & Sathers, makers of Chuckles, Jujubes, Jujyfruit, and Now & Later, have their secret code, too. This one is a production date. Let's look at the code of: 8345CX. The first digit is the year of production, so this is 2008. The next three digits, 345, are from the Julian Calendar. This would be December 11. The last two letters are of no use to us.

Zagnut, Zero, Good & Plenty, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are all made by Hershey's. They use a fairly simple expiration code on their candy. It consists of a number which designates the last number of the year, and a letter which stands for the month. A is January, B is February, C is March, etc. 8C would mean that the candy expires on March 2008.

Wrigleys has a six digit expiration code which stands for DDMMYY. 280409 would mean that you should chew your Juicy Fruit gum on or before April 28, 2009.

Cambridge Brands, a subsidiary of Tootsie Roll, makes such candy as Junior Mints, Tootsie Rolls, Dots, and Charleston Chew. They stamp a production date and use a code consisting of seven numbers and letters. A code L047325 is found on a box of Junior Mints. The L stands for the month, which would be December. 04 is the day, and 7 would be 2007. The last three digits are of no concern to us. This candy was manufactured on December 4, 2007.

Nestle, maker of Chunky, Wonka Bars, Nerd Ropes, Baby Ruth, and Laffy Taffy, uses a production code. Let's look at: 7144BWB18G. The first digit 7, is the last digit in the year of production. 144 is the Julian Day of manufacture which is May 24. The rest of the numbers and letters are of no value to us.

Now that you know how to decipher the secret candy code, you can do some detective work. You'll never buy stale candy again!

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Thursday, September 4, 2008
The Record Courier
Sept. 3, 2008
by Scott Neuffer

Even a nearly 90-year tradition of volunteers making candy is not immune to economic uncertainties. “We’re making about 4,000 pounds of candy this year instead of 4,500,” said Genoa resident Marian Vassar, who has been organizing the Genoa Candy Dance candy-making sessions since 2000. “Because of high gas prices, we suspect not as many people from great distances will come to the event.”
Held the last weekend in September every year, Candy Dance is the Town of Genoa’s main revenue source. Candy sales and the dinner-dance were the original fundraisers when the event was established in 1919 as a way to pay for the town’s electric street lights. Residents started making candy to sell at the dance from which the festival derives its name. Vassar said the sale of candy generates about $40,000 for the town each year. “Expenses are higher this year,” she said.
“Some products, like chocolate, have gone up.”Despite the economic crunch, dozens of volunteers from around the Valley have come to the Genoa Town Kitchen to help produce and package 16 varieties of sweets. And the quality of the candies has not diminished. “Our mainstay is still the fudge, rocky road and divinity,” Vassar said. “We are also making some chocolate-dipped, soft center mints and may try some English toffee.”Other candies include dragon eye mints, haystacks, peanut brittle, cappuccino cups and Genoa Gems, truffle-like fudge confections.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Vassar said. “People really do enjoy coming in here to do this.”Early Aug. 26, eight people were in the town kitchen getting their hands sugary.“My arm is getting tired,” said Johnson Lane resident John Slattery after stirring a batch of boiling fudge base for 25 minutes. It was is Slattery’s second year volunteering.“He’s become our fudge expert,” Vassar said. Gardnerville resident Sandy Cypert was enthralled by the idea of candy-making.“I just started this year and it’s very neat,” she said, while loading peanut butter cups into plastic bags. Genoa resident Betty Bourne has been volunteering her confectionery skills for 29 years.
“This is a way I support my town and make a contribution,” she said. More volunteers are welcome. Candy operations will continue in the town kitchen until Sept. 22. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. Those interested in volunteering to help sell candy during Candy Dance, Sept. 27 to 28, may call Vassar at 782-4584.

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