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Production halted on drug look-alike mint

Hershey zaps candy after furor over packaging

The breath mint that, critics say, looks like a street drug won't be on the streets much longer.

David West, president and chief executive of the Hershey Company, said yesterday that the candymaker is halting production of Ice Breakers Pacs - mints that police and a judge told Daily News columnist Jill Porter looked alarmingly like the heat-sealed pouches drug dealers use to peddle heroin, crack or cocaine. Porter broke the story late last year.

Ice Breakers Pacs are small, dissolvable pouches with a powdered sweetener inside and come in blue or orange packaging.

They bear the Ice Breakers logo, but one police officer expressed concern in Porter's column that a child might ingest a real bag of drugs, thinking they were Ice Breaker mints.

Another officer contended that the look-alike packets and contents glorified the drug trade.

West said Ice Breaker Pacs went on sale last November and any still on store shelves should be sold out by early this year.

He said yesterday during questioning by reporters about fourth-quarter earnings that the company decided to stop making Ice Breakers because some law-enforcement officials and community leaders had "expressed concern. We are sensitive to these viewpoints, " West said.

Veteran Philadelphia Police Officer Linda Wagner, who joined the narcotics unit after her teenage daughter died of a heroin overdose in 2001, told Porter that sales of the look-alike candy were "irresponsible."

Yesterday she said she was pleased by Hershey's decision but questioned why it had taken so long, the Associated Press reported.

"I feel that the voice of the people actually won this victory," she said. *