Well, that's the way the candy crumbles.

The makers of high cost Cadbury choclates have been indicted in Vermont on charges that they smuggled 357 bags full of chocolate crumbs into the United States disguised as broken, rejected candy bars -- apparently not content to let the chips fall where they may under federal import quotas.

A federal grand jury in Burlington returned the indictment against Cadbury Schweppes U.S.A., its Canadian affiliate and four men employed by Cadbury at the time of the candy caper, charging that they conspired to sneak the chocolate crumbs across the Canadian border in an effort to avoid import quotas.

Back in 1969, in an effort to protect the American dairy farmer, the United States established quotas for chocolate crumbs -- a mixture of chocolate liquer, whole milk and sugar. The mixture, which comes either coarsely grated or in bars, is what candy companies ladle over milk chocolate and candy bars.

In 1977, when the alleged smuggling incident occured, the limits were approximately 17.6 million pounds a year spread among countries including the United Kingdom. Individual companies were licensed to import fixed amounts, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture officials.

In April 1977, Cadbury executives met to find ways to deal with a shortage of chocolate crumbs at the company's U.S. plants, according to the indictment. The same day, the company trucked in 39,984 pounds of illegal crumbs through a customs station in Highgate, Vt., handling customs officials a commercial invoice labeling the stuff "reject candy bars, cracked, broken etc. which Cadbury cannot or will not sell."

The indictment indicates that the value of the crumbs, including duties, was approximately $200,000. Four months later Cadbury, which had apparently used the illegal crumbs, shipped out a similar amount, falsely declaring it to be the fugitive crumbs, according to the indictment.

The four individuals face possible penalties of five years imprisonment and $10,000 fines for each of the nine counts in the indictment, which was announced by U.S. Attorney William Gray. The corporations face fines on each of the counts, which include violations of customs and false statement statutes as well as conspiracy. Only one of the indicted employes still works for Cadbury.

An attorney for the company said that corporate officials would have no comment on a matter still before the courts.