Pop Rocks Debut 1975
First offered to the public in 1975, Pop Rocks are, according to the official Pop Rocks website – small pieces of hard candy that have been gasified with carbon dioxide under superatmospheric pressure. When these gasified sugar granules come in contact with moisture, in someone’s mouth or in water, milk, soft drinks, etc, the candy dissolves and the gas retained inside the carbon dioxide bubbles is released, causing characteristic crackling and fizzing sounds.
More from the website:
“Carbonated Candy” was originally invented in 1956 by William A. Mitchell, a chemist at the General Foods company looking for a way to make instant carbonated soda (think Coke) by somehow trapping carbon dioxide into candy tablets. But when the instant soda experiment didn’t turn out, the formula was forgotten and put away. Twenty years later, another chemist came across the formula, reworked it a little, and turned it into Pop Rocks.
Though Pop Rocks had been thoroughly tested and found innocuous, the exploding candy still startled residents when it was first released. The FDA arranged a telephone hotline to assure anxious parents that the popping candy would not cause children to choke.
Regarding the infamous Pop Rocks urban legend, Wikipedia explains:
Rumors persisted that eating Pop Rocks and drinking soda would cause a person’s stomach to explode. This was, in part, caused by the false assumption that Pop Rocks contain an acid/base mixture (such as baking soda and vinegar) which produces large volumes of gas when mixed through chewing and saliva. One of these myths involved a character named Mikey from the Life cereal commercials. Mikey, played by child actor John Gilchrist, was falsely rumored to have died after eating a Pop Rocks and Coca-Cola mixture—namely, a six-pack of Coca-Cola and six pouches of Pop Rocks