Africa: Old Hoax – No Killer Biscuits Shipped From South Africa to Nigeria

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A graphic circulating on Facebook in South Africa and Nigeria sounds a warning to biscuit lovers. It claims that “biscuits called crunches” shipped from South Africa to Nigeria have “killed 45 people” and contain a “poisonous chemical”.

The graphic, also forwarded to Africa Check on WhatsApp in February 2022, includes photos of biscuits, an image of a child who appears to be covered in blisters or warts, and an image of a humanoid head covered in something like warts or scales.

While the text in the graphic doesn’t draw any connection between eating the biscuits and the photos, the implication is clear – these cookies can kill! But is this true?

Crunch Creams not from South Africa

While the text in the graphic mentions “biscuits called crunches” and suggests Googling “crunches biscuits”, it shows a package of biscuits branded Fox’s Crunch Creams.

The biscuit brand Fox was not familiar to the South Africans in our office. This was the first red flag that something hoaxy might be afoot.

We Googled the name and found the UK-based Fox’s Biscuits and their product Fox’s Golden Crunch Creams. While a shipment of biscuits could have reached Nigeria from the UK via South Africa, this seemed unlikely to us.

South Africans are more likely to be well-acquainted with oats-and-coconut biscuits called crunchies. But these are typically homemade, often according to a family recipe, and unlikely to be exported anywhere.

Photo from TV show

Next we tried to trace the other photos in the graphic. We first searched for the photo of the blistered child with the wart-covered head superimposed on it, but came up empty.

However, when we cropped out the head and searched for this image alone, we were luckier. We found a number of clearer copies of the image, where it’s clear this is a head covered in hundreds of human teeth.