Girl, 10, chokes on 'world's sourest sweet' in TikTok trend gone wrong

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Mia-Rose Bowyer, 10, could be left with a permenantly raspy voice after inhaling Mr Simms’ Black Death sweet

A mum fears a TikTok trend could leave her daughter with a permanently raspy voice - after she accidentally inhaled the 'world's sourest sweet'. Stevie Bowyer says little Mia-Rose suffered 'chemical-like' burns in her throat when the shock of the Mr Simms sour sweet Black Death made her choke on it as she tried to spit it out.

The 10-year-old was at a sleepover at her aunt's house with her sister Olivia, 13, and cousins, on Saturday (20 April) night and was looking forward to watching films and chomping on snacks. Mia-Rose had asked her aunty, with mum Stevie's permission, to try the super-sour sweet after seeing kids on TikTok trying it.

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She popped the sweet in her mouth but as it hit her tongue was stunned by just how sour the candy was and wanted to spit it out. But the black-coloured toffee took her breath away and instead of spitting it out she inhaled it and it got stuck down her throat.

Mia-Rose's terrified aunt started to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre while dialling 999 and watched helplessly as the girl's lips started to turn blue. After around two minutes Mia-Rose managed to finally pluck the offending sweet out and threw it to the ground.

She was rushed to hospital where doctors put her on oxygen, steroids and antibiotics to help her breathe and prevent further swelling. Mr Simms said they temporarily removed the sweets from sale while an 'investigation' took place but have since said it was an isolated incident, while TikTok pointed out that the trend is present on multiple platforms.

Mia-Rose Bowyer in hospital after inhaling the Black Death sweet. Picture: Kennedy News and MediaMia-Rose Bowyer in hospital after inhaling the Black Death sweet. Picture: Kennedy News and Media
Mia-Rose Bowyer in hospital after inhaling the Black Death sweet. Picture: Kennedy News and Media

A shocking video shows Mia-Rose in hospital giving a scary, growling & gurgling sound rumbling from her throat as she breathes. The youngster, who is currently scared to eat, faces an anxious wait to discover whether any permanent damage has been done to her vocal cords, after being left with a raspy voice.

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Horrified mum Stevie, 32, is now sharing Mia-Rose's ordeal to highlight how dangerous she believes sour sweets can be. Mia-Rose, from Reading, Berkshire, said: "I saw videos on TikTok of other children trying the Black Death sweet. I saw them pull funny faces and wanted to try it. I was at my aunty's house having a sleepover. At first when it went into my mouth it wasn't sour but then it went really sour.

"I went to spit it out, [but] it rolled back [down my throat]. It was really scary. It was a relief when it came out. When the sweet came out I threw it on the floor and cuddled my aunty. I thought I was going to die. My throat is sore and burnt, I would never have a sweet like that again."

Mum-of-three Stevie said Mia-Rose had seen clips of people trying the sweet on other people's TikTok and YouTube accounts and wanted to try it out herself. Black Death is a sweet, available exclusively through traditional-style confectionery retailer Mr Simms, and is marketed as 'the most sour sweet ever'.

Mia-Rose Bowyer with her mum Stevie. Picture: Kennedy News and MediaMia-Rose Bowyer with her mum Stevie. Picture: Kennedy News and Media
Mia-Rose Bowyer with her mum Stevie. Picture: Kennedy News and Media

The acid-coated lemon flavour sweet comes with a warning that it 'may cause temporary mouth and/or stomach irritation' and that it's not suitable for children under eight. Full-time mum Stevie said: "The girls like sour sweets and had seen videos on TikTok and YouTube about one called Black Death - 'the world's most super-sour sweet'.

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"They're not recommended for children under the age of eight and it does state on the packet it can cause stomach irritation and irritation for your mouth. I didn't look into that until afterwards because you don't expect a sweet to do any of that. 

"I thought 'well if it's not sold to under eights and it's in a sweet shop it can't be that bad'. But obviously I thought wrong. You don't think twice about these things when the kids say 'I want to try that'.

Black Death sweet on Mr Simms website. Picture: Kennedy News and MediaBlack Death sweet on Mr Simms website. Picture: Kennedy News and Media
Black Death sweet on Mr Simms website. Picture: Kennedy News and Media

"People record themselves and their reactions to taking the sweet. It comes up with all sorts of videos and there's children on there trying it. You think it's just a sour sweet that people can't handle. I thought the worst they would do is spit it out.

She continued: "My phone rang [that evening] it was my sister's boyfriend. I could hear everybody screaming and I could hear kids crying. He said 'you need to get back now'. I was like what's happened?

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 "At this time Mia still had the sweet lodged in her throat, I could hear them trying to get it out. I felt sick and I was shaking. When you're being told that I was just lost for words, it was like I could be going home to no child - a lifeless child. I feared she could die.

"It ended up being [stuck] nearly two minutes, by this time her lips had already gone blue. While my sister was doing all she could, Mia ended up getting her hand and dislodging the sweet."

Mia-Rose Bowyer. Picture: Kennedy News and MediaMia-Rose Bowyer. Picture: Kennedy News and Media
Mia-Rose Bowyer. Picture: Kennedy News and Media

Mia-Rose was taken to Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, where she was given oxygen, hooked to an IV drip and put on steroids to combat swelling and help her breathing. After three days in hospital where she had scans and x-rays, she was given the all-clear to come home but needs a follow-up appointment to see if there's any permanent damage.

Stevie added: "When a consultant came to see me he said 'imagine a third-degree burn on her arm but down her throat'. Her voice sounds very husky, I'm praying her voice does come back. It can happen with anything but it happened to be this sweet. She's a little bit scared to eat at the minute."

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Stevie is sharing what happened to warn other parents about the potential dangers and is urging the sweet shop to pull the product from shelves. She explained: "It should be an 18+ thing, but honestly I don't think it should be sold at all because it could happen to anybody.  

"TikTok allowing videos like this annoys me. It's become a craze 'oh try this it's just a sour sweet'. It shouldn't be on TikTok, it shouldn't even be sold in the shops. They're on TikTok but then they're put onto YouTube - you see them all over the place."

A spokesman for Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe said: "Following notification of an unfortunate incident in which a 10-year-old girl was hospitalised for three days after consuming one of our best-selling mega-sour Black Death sweets, as a responsible business we immediately launched an investigation and made preparations to remove the product from sale until we received the findings.

"We have today received confirmation from the manufacturer that the sweets are deemed safe for consumption by the Food Standards Agency and the Department of Food and Rural Affairs. So far this year they have sold more than 3,000,000 mega sour sweets. At Mr. Simms we have sold the product for 11 years and this is the only time either of the companies have been made aware of such an incident.

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"The sweets have an extremely sour coating which causes the sensation that has made them so popular world-wide and this is made clear on the labelling. It would appear that the case involving the young girl was an isolated incident. We are extremely sorry she had such an experience but are pleased to learn that she has now been discharged from hospital. We want all our customers to enjoy our products safely and we are confident that they can remain on sale."

Tiktok said that this type of content is not specific to their platform and there are multiple recent reaction videos with high views across other platforms, not just TikTok. They said TikTok is a 13+ platform, and anyone below that age is not allowed on the platform.

A YouTube spokesperson added: "You must be at least 13 years old to use YouTube and we have strict rules prohibiting content which features minors engaging in dangerous activities. Our Community Guidelines prohibit any videos encouraging extremely dangerous challenges and we vigorously remove this type of content."

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