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Green M&M

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Legend: Green M&M® Chocolate Candies are an aphrodisiac.

Origins: The Mars Company of Hackettstown, New Jersey (now M&M/MARS), has been producing M&M Chocolate Candies since 1941. (The peanut variety was introduced in 1954.) Various rumors have since been attached to different colors of the candy: the green ones are an aphrodisiac; if the last candy out of a bag is red, make a wish and it will come true; if the last candy out of a bag is yellow, you should call in sick and stay home; orange M&Ms are good luck, but brown ones are bad luck. M&M/MARS notes that all these rumors were developed by consumers, not the company.

The rumor that these green candies are an aphrodisiac apparently started or first gained prominence in the 1970s, when students reportedly picked the green ones out of packages to feed to the objects of their desires. (At that time, an average of 10% of plain M&Ms and 20% of peanut M&Ms were green.) Why the green M&Ms were attributed with this power is unknown; perhaps it was because the color green has always been associated with healing and fertility. (The company itself routinely states that they "cannot explain any extraordinary 'powers' attributed to [green M&Ms], either scientifically or medically"; the same "powers" have also been claimed of green jelly beans and gummi bears.)

When red M&Ms were temporarily taken off the market after the FDA banned the use of red dye #2 in 1976, a rumor spread that the red ones were such a powerful aphrodisiac that M&M/MARS employees were pocketing them directly off the production line.

In 1992, a California lawyer named Wendy Jaffe cashed in on the legend and started a company named Cool Chocolates Inc. Her company's sole product was a green M&M-like candy sold under the name "The Green Ones." M&M/MARS claimed trademark infringement (in part because the characters on The Green Ones' packages were quite similar to the trademarked M&M cartoon figures), and as part of a settlement Ms. Jaffe agreed to change the name and packaging of her product. (Her candy was subsequently sold under the name "Greenies.") M&M/MARS started playing on the common image of green M&Ms with an "Is it true what they say about green ones?" advertising campaign in 1996.

Entry #64

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