Those hoping to get a prediction of love from their next fortune cookie may be out of luck: The Brooklyn-based food company responsible for producing the largest share of the country's fortune cookies has decided to no longer make certain messages with romantic themes, the New York Post reports.
The surprising move by Wonton Food comes just in advance of Valentine's Day, after the company faced complaints from parents who found some of the messages inappropriate for their children.
Among the fortunes getting the boot: "One who admires you greatly is hidden before your eyes," "Romance and travel go together" and "The evening promises romantic interest," according to the Post. The replacement messages will be more neutral and include phrases, such as "You make every day special" and "No one on Earth is as beautiful as you."
An executive told news outlet that if the company receives two or three complaints about a particular fortune, officials will consider discontinuing it.
When the New York Press took a tour of the Wonton Food factory several years ago, a salesperson at the time explained that the company writes its own fortunes and also employs freelancers to help come up with them.
"Basically it's got to be happy," Richard Leung said of the criteria for fortunes. "It's got to have some kind of meaning to it. Most importantly it cannot be offensive."
There are about three billion fortune cookies made each year, and though people tend to associate them with Chinese food, there's evidence to suggest that the baked goods started out as a Japanese dessert. As the New York Times previously reported, a researcher found evidence that fortune cookies were referenced in Japan as early as 1878.
Throughout the years, though, the cookies have proven to not only be sources of after-dinner amusement but predictors of winning Powerball numbers. In 2005, there were 110 lottery players who got five out of the six numbers right. As it turned out, all the winners had chosen the numbers from fortune cookies they'd received.
The cookies have also evolved into an opportunity for advertisers to reach customers in unexpected ways. As the Wall Street Journal noted in 2010, the U.S. Census advertised on the back of fortune cookie papers with messages like, “Put down your chopsticks and get involved in Census 2010."