- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 31, 2007

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The maker of Peeps — the fluffy, yellow, marshmallow chicks that have won a fanatical following — has tapped an overseas manufacturer to make candies for the first time in the company’s history.

Just Born Inc. is locating the production of its Spooky Friends treats for Halloween in China.

That could be a scary thought for American consumers concerned about products made in China, which has been hit by a series of recalls of substandard goods and lead-tainted toys.

Just Born said it is making the foray into outsourcing for the first time in its 84-year history because its plant in Bethlehem, Pa., cannot individually wrap the Spooky Friends candies.

The company found a factory in China that can do the job and meets its quality standards.

Privately owned Just Born said it wants to ensure there is demand for the product before investing in the equipment to make the treats in the United States.

“It’s expensive and we wanted to make sure we have a viable product before we’ll source it here,” said Kathy Bassininski, vice president of brand development and corporate services.

Just Born sold out this Halloween’s entire inventory of Spooky Friends to retailers. The company will determine later whether shoppers went for the marshmallow candies, which are shaped like pumpkins, bats, ghosts and spiders.

Just Born made the decision to test outsourcing last year, before the Chinese-product scandals developed.

The candy maker said its popular Peeps and most of its other confections will continue to be manufactured in Pennsylvania.

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