The Rapid Alert System for Non-Food Products (RAPEX)

Alert number: 1716/10

Product:  Hygroscopic balls for watering plants - Pearl Shape Crystal Soil

Name: 

Batch number / Barcode: 

Type of alert: Serious

Category: Food-imitating products

Brand: Gemme di Rugiada

Type / number of model:  Unknown

Risk type: Choking, Injuries
The products pose a risk of choking and injuries because they are identical in appearance to sugar balls used to decorate cakes, and because they expand rapidly upon contact with water, they may, if accidentally ingested, obstruct the intestine, or, if they enter the airway, impede or completely prevent the passage of air, resulting in respiratory distress and/or asphyxia. The assessment of the article carried out by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (note 24277 dated 01.06.2010) showed that after only 30 minutes, the balls had increased in volume by over 300%.


The products do not comply with the Directive 87/357/EEC on products which, appearing to be other than they are, endanger the health or safety of consumers.

Measures ordered by public authorities (to: Other): Seizure of the products, withdrawal from the market and recall from consumers ordered by the authorities.

Description:  Transparent 8 g package containing hygroscopic balls. Each package contains balls of a single colour. Colours available are: white, transparent, yellow, orange, light green, blue, red, purple, pink. They are available in small, medium and large sizes. Original diameter: small - 1.25 mm; medium - 1.7 to 2.0 mm; large - 2 to 2.5 mm. The product’s specification sheet states that the balls can increase their original weight by 120 to 150 times.

Country of origin: China

Alert submitted by: Italy