Teretz Syndrome

Monday, October 6, 2003. 9:16PM

So this afternoon, right, I'm sitting at the station waiting for a train. Now, I've got a while to wait, and I'm in a kind of a funny mood, so I thinks to myself - what we need here is a good old fashioned freak out. So I sidle up to the vending machine, and sit down in front of it - maybe four foot away, cross legged on the floor. I'm staring at this machine, and in many ways, it's staring back. We're sort of bonding. In a sort of way I'm using my telekinetic power to shake up the stuff inside and have it give me some chocolate, but it's more than that. I'm looking deep into this inanimate (well, actually, it has moving parts, so I guess that makes it...err... animate) object's soul and communicating with it. Anyway, I'm there for maybe fifteen minutes, and people are looking at me pretty strangely, when this guy who's been sitting behind me walks up to the vending machine, throws in a couple of bucks, buys a packet of M&M's, tosses them to me, and goes back to his seat. Now, I wasn't really in it to bum food, but I don't want to deprive the guy of his little satisfaction, so I go over to some seats, sit down, and open my sweet goodness. Now, I want to make these last a while, so I decide to eat them in order of the colour spectrum. I've always eaten brown last, anyway, so it shouldn't make too much of a difference. Mentally I'm trying to remember the colour order. First comes red (well, after eating the ones I can't see - the infrared M&M's). There's a red M&M. Then comes orange. There's a few of them, too. Then yellow. Yep. The comes green. Roger. Then blue. All the way. Then comes indigo and violet, which, for the sake of food additive simplicity, we'll call purple. Ah. Good thing they added purple a few years ago after that competition... you remember that competition, right? They made all these packets of aqua, pink and purple M&M's, and you got to vote online as to which became then new M&M. Sold billions of bite size chocolate snacks. Purple won. I never realized how rigged that competition was before now - they were just completing the spectrum. But wait! What's this? There are no purple M&M's in this packet!

I have a look at the front of the pack, where they have a picture of all the M&M's. Yep, they're all there all right... all expect purple... and brown... well, I guess that makes sense, the packet is brown, you couldn't see it anyway. I have a look at the use by date. Sure, the competition was probably more than two years ago, but I guess I might have got a real old packet. 14/4/04, it reads. Now, personally, I can't see M&M's being good in seven months time - I think this is a pretty generous used by date. Far too generous to be two years old. Besides, I don't think I've ever seen a purple M&M except in those special packets they brought out. I think I'm on to something here.

I have a look at the ingredients (there's a lot of them for what are basically chocolate pellets): Milk Chocolate 68% (Sugar, Milk Solids, Cocoa Mass, Cocoa Butter (I don't know what this shit is, but it sounds good. Mmm... cocoa. Mmm... butter.), Vegetable Fat, Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin (I don't know what this shit is, but it sound like it gives you cancer)), Salt, Favors), Sugar, Wheat Starch, Wheat Glucose Syrup, Vegetable Gum (414), Colours (171, 129, 102, 110, 133, 162, 132), Thickener (Dextrin) milk chocolate contains a minimum 29% cocoa solids and a minimum 24% milk solids. MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF PEANUTS. Well, I thinks. Nothing really interesting about that... nothing except the colourings. They colour the chocolate to make it brown, then colour the shells as well? Does anyone really bite M&M's in half, decide the chocolate isn't the right colour and throw them away? Well, yes, that is an interesting question, but more interesting that that is why would you need seven different colourings when you only have six different colour M&M's in the packet? Hmm... interesting question indeed... TO THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION!

171. Better know as titanium dioxide. A white colour used in tooth paste. Known to pollute water ways. Oh. Woah. That means they colour the chocolate brown, then make that inner shell you see when you suck them white, then they colour the outer shell too. Unless the white is just for the little 'M', I guess. Man. I wonder what colour these things are naturally. Well, that's solved the seventh colour and ruined my investigation straight up, however, zeedarteretz.com believes in keeping our viewers informed, so I'll look up the rest anyway, and see if any will kill you.

129. Allura red AC. Artificial orange-red colour. Allura red has been connected with cancer. Prohibited throughout the EEC. Holy shit! Cancer! Banned in Europe! Fuck me! Everyone! Stay away from the red M&M's!

102. Tartrazine.Yellow. Causes a rash in one in 10,000 kids. Claimed to cause cancer and asthma attacks, but the FDA doesn't agree. Can make kids hyperactive, and makes you sensitive to aspirin. Banned in Norway, Austria and Finland. Restricted use in Sweden and Germany. Man. That's pretty evil too. I wonder what they use to colour M&M's in Europe.

110. Orange. Can fuck with you nasal shit, and therefore taste, smell, all that. Causes ulsers, and weight loss in animals. Banned in Finland, Norway and the UK. Man. Norway must be pretty much M&M free.

133. Triphenylmethane dye. Blue. Can cause hyperactivity and chromosomal damage. Banned in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Norway Switzerland, Sweden.

162. Beetroot Red. Purple colour derived from beets; no adverse effects known.

132. Indigo. Can cause vomiting, nausea, high blood pressure. Banned in fucking Norway.

Hmm. No brown, and no green but two purples. Well, frankly, I'm surprised. I guess they must mix colours to get those M&M's. Or that is M&M's without added colour. Anyway, there's still no purple M&M's in my packet - let's see what we can find on the M&M's website.

Firstly, the company history. There's a mention of the original competition in 1995 between pink, blue and purple, but no mention of the later one. Now the products section. That's interesting - apparently you get 30% Brown, 20% yellow and red, and 10% orange, blue and green. Wow. I wish I had a full pack here so I could test that preposition. Let's have a look at the characters. There's Red, the normal M&M, Yellow the Peanut, Orange the Crispy, and Blue, who, according to his bio, appears to be the cool, Jazz musician, ladies man of the M&M family. It doesn't say, but he looks peanut to me. There doesn't seem to be green. Didn't she used to be this chick M&M? Actually, if she's gone, that mean's there are only guy M&M's left. Guy M&M's and Minis, who appear to be children. I could stoop to chocolate homosexuality quips right now, but no, I think I'll leave it to your filthy filthy minds. I played the trivia game a little - apparently in 1950, violet M&M's were replaced by tan... well were the fuck is tan now? Huh? Oh... gone... like violet... hrm... good point. I searched their FAQ for purple - no results.

Well, let's have a look at Euro M&M's. Oh. It seems there's no Norwegian site. Well, that answers one of my previous questions. They don't.

AH HA! The US site is much the same as the Australian, except for one thing, they have a timeline, and in this timeline, under 2002, they have the following entry:

"2002: Purple Days. Millions of M&M's Candy lovers vote online in the first ever Global Color Vote to pick a new M&M's Candy color. Purple is victorious in this unprecedented global election, which even took place in some countries where citizens don't have the right to vote." Many voted anyway, and were executed by government death squads. Well, there we have it. Confession. In a way.

And I sum up thus:

A) M&M's, while delicious, appear to be, with a little research, to be pure poison.

B) In 2002, M&M's staged a massive marketing coup, no doubt selling billions of M&M's, under the pretense to adding a new colour of M&M. The citizen's of the world spent billions of dollars in Internet bandwidth to vote in this competition. Although purple was chosen, it was never added. What do I say to this? Shame, M&M's, shame.

Well, that's about it. Everything wrapped up in a nice little package. But wait? Aren't you forgetting something? Why yes, hands, it seems I am (who typed that then?). What about this weeks poster girl? Well, I did find one little thing deep in the M&M's website... well... y'know... this does kind of rock my boat... and if it rocks yours... well... I really don't want to know about it... till next time, Amigos.



For more information on food additives, visit this alarmist website.

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