The Spice Loop used to be an easy way to collect one spices per turn. On October 3rd, 2006, the number of clovers per day that could be acquired was drastically reduced. As of October 5th, 2010, spices are no longer attainable from chewing gum on a string.
This item used to do 2-3 damage in combat. The item description used to be:
"This is a can of secret and mysterious spices. It could be used to give something a secret and/or mysterious flavor."
The line "If you can control this, you can control the universe!" is a reference to the "spice drug" melange from the Dune novels.
The same joke was used in the announcement when the in-game melange was rolled out.