Interesting Place # 85 - The Netherlands

Drop accounts for a fifth of all confectionery sales in the Netherlands.

(It's a black and chewy, often salty licorice sweet. In 2007, 32,000 tonnes of drop were bought by 16 million citizens, to the tune of some 155 million euros (196 million dollars). But recently experts have warned that the ingredient which gives drop its acquired taste, glycyrrhizine, may be dangerous if taken in large doses. The substance, which is 50 times sweeter than cane sugar, can raise blood pressure.

"An adult can consume about 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of drop a day ... without side-effects. For children, the recommended maximum is about 25 grams," the government-funded Netherlands Nutrition Centre said in a recently published warning.

One sweet weighs about five grams.)