Pop Rocks were developed in 1956 by a scientist named William A. Mitchell who was working for General Foods Research. When this revolutionary confection hit the market, it was almost twenty years later, when they immediately took off. At that time, they were selling for fifteen cents a pack. Pop Rocks quickly became a hit, and their popularity continues today.
What They Are
The original flavors were orange, cherry and grape. What they’re made of are tiny air pockets of carbonation, or CO2, which are released as the candy melts in your mouth. It is then that they produce a mild crackling sensation and a popping sound.
Misinformed Public Reaction
Through thorough testing and now much time, Pop Rocks were and are found to be totally innocuous, however this exploding candy produced quite a stir among Seattle residents who went into a panic over the candy over malicious rumors that had been circulated about the candy being dangerous, and even lethal for their children to consume. The fear was so widespread that the Food and Drug Administration arranged a telephone hotline to provide assurance to these anxious parents, explaining how this popping candy would not cause their children to choke. At the time, the popular story was that by mixing the candy with carbonated drinks, it would cause the stomach to explode, however this was unfounded and untrue.
A Lot to Dispel
General Foods was battling "exploded kid" rumors as early as 1979, a mere four years after the product went to market. They took out full-page ads in 45 major publications, wrote some 50,000 letters to school principals around the country, and sent the confection's inventor on the road to explain to consumers everywhere how Pop Rocks generate less gas than half a can of soda and ingesting them could induce nothing worse in the human body than a hearty, non-life-threatening burp. Despite all these measures, the rumors of the urban legend abound even to this day.
Around 1983, the pressure become too much and Pop Rocks were taken off the market. What's less known is that Kraft bought the rights to the product from General Foods in 1985 and then marketed it as "Action Candy" through a company named Carbonated Candy.
Back in Full Force
Pop Rocks are now back out in the open and are again marketed under their original name. The Pop Rocks Candy website provides more action, entertainment for your whole mouth, and completely dismisses hearsay.