Bakery Threatened With Closure Due to Lead Buns

Bakery Threatened With Closure Due to Lead Buns

Business may have to close due to 'deaths'.

Cake

 

A bakery in Wigan has had to stop selling one of its most popular products after Trading Standards claimed that it contained a banned additive. Arthur's Oven has been selling bread, cakes and pastries to the people of Wigan for almost fifty years. The bakery is a small family business and was opened by Arthur Evans in 1975. Today is it run by his daughter, Sarah, and one of its top selling lines is "Arthur's special", a type of iced butter cake made to a secret recipe devised by her father. However, the local Trading Standards department has now instructed Sarah to withdraw it from sale after tests revealed that the fondant contained significant quantities of lead.

No proven link.

"It's ridiculous," Sarah told us. "People have been eating my father's cakes for years with no ill effects. I am aware that there have been a number of cases of suspected lead poisoning, but that lead could have come from anywhere. There's no proven link."

Sarah claims that the lead is an essential part of the recipe and is necessary to weigh the icing down and stop it floating away. She has tried lead-free alternatives, such as iron and granite, but says that customers responded negatively and she was forced to revert to the original recipe.

A spokesperson from Wigan Trading Standards told us that the authority had to take action because of a number of complaints. "Most of these complaints have come from people who claim their health has suffered as a result of consuming the product," said Laura Horwood. "But the lead content makes these cakes much heavier, and in one case an injury occurred as a result of the consumer dropping it on their foot."

Magnetic sprinkles.

This is not the first time that Arthur's Oven have fallen foul of Trading Standards. In 2011 they were ordered to stop using magnetic sprinkles on their fairy cakes, as the products had a tendency to fly out of people's hands when attracted by passing buses. And in 2007 they were prosecuted after the asbestos content of their pastry was found to be significantly in excess of permitted levels.

Sarah Evans believes that the authorities are being unnecessarily draconian in the way that they are enforcing regulations. "I really feel that we are being persecuted," she said. "We are a small business and we're struggling as it is, the way things are at the moment. This kind of interference is really not helping us. I get that people do occasionally become seriously ill as a result of eating our products, and I understand that the authorities have a duty to protect the public. But we have to make a living. If the council were really serious about protecting the interests of small businesses, they would be prepared to turn a blind eye to the occasional poisoning."

Consolation.

But Sarah can take some consolation, as it's not all bad news for the bakery: they have just received a major order from a national construction company. "We have no issue with Arthur's Oven continuing to sell these products," said Laura Horwood from Trading Standards. "We only ask that they sell them as building materials and stop claiming that they are fit for human consumption."

 

 

Taken from The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2022
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