Is it fair for an entire country to be represented by a food to which many of its residents are allergic? Israel’s Olympics committee recently chose their national mascot, a peanut-flavored snack’s advertising character. After criticism, however, the committee scrapped its plans to use the Osem company’s Bamba Baby as Israel’s mascot for this summer’s London Olympics. TheTimes of Israelrecently covered the outcry that arose after the initial decision was announced.
Bamba, a peanut butter-flavored puffed corn snack, is one of Israel’s most popular snack foods. The Bamba Baby has been used to market it for more than 2 decades, and is a recognizable symbol within Israel. However, the decision to use the popular character as an Olympics mascot drew criticism over the commercialism of using a single company’s advertising character as a national symbol. It has also drawn fire for the character’s association with peanuts, to which millions of people worldwide are severely allergic.
What do you think of Israel’s decision to use a peanut snack as its national symbol for the Olympics? Is it insensitive or offensive to those with peanut allergies, or are those who criticize the decision being too politically correct? And was the committee right to reverse their decision based on the criticism?