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Could Lucy Ellen Find Happiness at DPSC?



On June 20, 2015, Vern Edwards introduced us to F & F Laboratories, Inc., ASBCA 33007, 89-1 BCA ¶ 21207 (Sept. 14, 1988).

In early 1986, the Defense Personnel Support Center (DPSC) awarded a contract to F & F Laboratories, Inc. (F & F) for "starch jelly bars" as part of the military's abandon ship ration procurement. F & F offered its commercial jelly bar as part of its proposal and it was incorporated into the contract documents. Unfortunately, the commercial product didn't fit into the abandon ship ration package and F & F was terminated for default. In an Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA) decision, the termination for default was converted into a termination for convenience because DPSC "was obligated to reject [F & F's] offer prior to award and that its failure to do so until [F & F] manufactured over half the supplies after award was a material breach of the contract."

If life was simple and straightforward, we could end there.

In 1985, DPSC's records showed that its last procurement for jelly bars was with the Chuckles Division of Nabisco in 1982. The Chuckles bar came in 5 pieces to a bar and one current image shows the bar is nearly 5 Inches long today. That is larger than the federal specification size from the ASBCA case. The F & F bar, in 1986, was over 6 inches with 5 pieces also. Since both firms were Illinois firms, I assume that the sizes of the commercial bars were about the same in the 1980s. That is a long way of concluding that the Chuckles Division probably produced a non-commercial jelly bar for DPSC's needs in 1982.

Chuckles is now part of the Ferrara Candy Company which, in addition to Chuckles and other candies, makes "Atomic Fireball" candies. I may not have been a fan of Chuckles as a kid but I can remember those fireballs. F & F was in bankruptcy in 2010 and is now The Smith Brothers Co. You can track it down with Google Maps.

So what's the punch-line here? That's the funny part. I never saw an F & F jelly candy bar--until a day or two ago. Read through the discussion on this site and pay special attention to the image of the "Jelly Bar." You can enlarge the size of the image. The Abandon Ship ration the fellow tested was probably made between 1986 and 1992. You will see that the jelly bar was made by Lucy Ellen Candies which, if you do a bit of research, was a division of F & F. We can assume that after the ASBCA decision F & F and DPSC worked things out and F & F produced a non-commercial jelly bar to federal specifications. For that brief period of time, Lucy Ellen may have found happiness at DPSC.


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