More than 100 consumers of the 5lb bag of sweets have posted reports of calamitous flatulence and sudden bowel evacuation. Can it really be true?

Until now, people bought Haribo gummy bears for all manner of factors – taste, colour, an unsubstantiated belief that they are going to cling on to your colon for decades, like some sort of gelatinous kaleidoscopic dingleberry (just me? Oh). But now, according to Amazon, there’s a new reason. Apparently, if you buy and consume a 5lb bag of Haribo sugarless gummy bears, you will experience nothing short of “gastrointestinal armageddon“.

Last week, Buzzfeed uncovered more than 100 Amazon reviews for the sweets – which, to be fair, do claim to “cause intestinal distress if eaten in excess” in the product description – all describing the apocalyptic laxative effect that they supposedly had on their digestive systems in harrowingly forensic detail.

Christine E Torok from Pennsylvania wrote that, after eating 20 bears, “What came out of me felt like someone tried to funnel Niagara Falls through a coffee straw”. Other customers complained that, after eating the bears, “I was in excruciating pain and passed enough gas to inflate the Hindenberg”, that “these things should be outlawed or used as a military weapon”, and that “If u buy these gummy bears u will be running to the toilet!!”

Now, it’s hard to know how seriously to take these reviews. Comically exaggerated Amazon reviews are up there with custard pies and mother-in-law jokes in terms of massively overused comic tropes, as the makers of Veet for Men and David Hasselhoff albums will happily attest. Certainly, since Buzzfeed wrote about it, the gummy bear page has become flooded with all manner of tedious internet wags all joylessly trying to out-LOL each other.

But there’s something persuasive about these reviews. There’s a theme running through them. A theme of trapped wind. A theme of calamitous flatulence. A theme of eventual bowel evacuation so sudden and violent that the consumer briefly transcends all human notions of suffering. A theme of not realising that buying a bag of sweets that weighs as much as a domestic cat might be asking for trouble. Are they true or not? There’s only one thing for it. I’m going to have to order a bag.

This article was written by Stuart Heritage, for The Guardian on Monday 20th January 2014 13.19 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


image: © Lennart Tange