The Iconic White Rabbit Candy Was Once Taken Off The Shelf. Here's Why

Despite its popularity, the chewy milk candy went missing in 2008.

Nearly every Malaysian kid will remember peeling open a White Rabbit candy wrapper to suck on the edible transparent rice paper and milky chewy goodness

Image via Ali Express

The iconic candy originated in Shanghai, China. South China Morning Post revealed that in 1943, a Chinese merchant created the candy after tasting several similar sweets in Europe.

What many may not know is that the addictive sweet did not always feature a white rabbit

Instead, it was initially called "Mickey Mouse sweets" and the famous Disney character was apparently on its wrappers.

White Rabbit packaging in the 1960s.

Image via Guan Sheng Yang Food Group/SCMP

Global Times reported that a private company in Shanghai first launched ABC Mickey Mouse Sweets, drawing inspiration from the popular cartoon.

However, it wasn't until 1959 when the White Rabbit logo was introduced to its candy wrappers.

The sweets became extremely popular throughout the country that it even played a role in one of China's historical moments

Shoppers buying the White Rabbit candy back in the day.

Image via Guan Sheng Yuan Food

China's premier Zhou Enlai loved the candy so much that he gave a batch to US President Nixon in 1972 as a gift.

That marked the beginning of how the candies eventually became known internationally. It is now being sold in more than 50 countries.

Despite its increased popularity, a sudden milk scandal broke out in 2008 which forced the company to halt its production

Over 300,000 babies in China suffered from consumption of contaminated milk and infant formula that had traces of melamine in it.

Four of those babies died from kidney stones and other kidney damages, while 54,000 other infants were hospitalised, Seattle Times reported.

Image via AP/Aaron Favila

White Rabbit was listed among other milk-based products suspected of containing melamine, an industrial chemical used in plastics that can cause stomach pain and kidney failure. 

The chemical is high in nitrogen, which artificially boosts protein taste in milk.

As a precautionary measure, stores around the world then began to remove the White Rabbit candy off its shelves.

A month later, White Rabbit was brought back into the market after 5,000 inspectors were sent to monitor dairy-product factories across the nation

According to Today Onlinethe candy's melamine level is not exactly dangerous. If you weigh 60kg, you would need to eat more than 47 White Rabbit sweets "every day over a lifetime to exceed the tolerable threshold."

Image via China Daily

Although the brand's reputation and sales was affected, the classic candy made a comeback in the recent decade and has risen to become the familiar milk sweet we know and love today.

The milk candy was recently turned into White Rabbit-flavoured ice cream in Malaysia:

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