New rules take the cakes at baking competitions

A lovely layer cakeOur home kitchens are not necessarily the cleanest cooking environments out there, as much as we’d like to think so. Pets might wander through, countertops aren’t necessarily sterilized, food storage might not be ideal and how often do you clean under the refrigerator? Things like this are reasons that many states won’t allow you to sell food prepared in a home kitchen; it’s an unregulated environment, and unlike restaurant kitchens, there are no inspections to help sort out the good from the bad. But this difference between home kitchens and restaurant kitchens is about to have a big impact on an important type of culinary contest: baking competitions.

In Europe, new regulations put in place by the EU might mean the end of local and regional baking competitions, some of which have been traditions for generations. The new rules say that all cakes (and other baked goods) must be destroyed immediately following a competition, rather than being shared with and tasted by onlookers. “[They state] that food produced for display purposes, containing fresh ingredients such as eggs, butter and cream, should not be eaten to avoid possible food poisoning outbreaks.” Recommendations have been made that suggest only bite-sized cakes be permissible at competitions in the future, as they are a suitable portion for judging and it will cut back on the amount that must be wasted after the contest.

I haven’t seen statistics that give details on the number of “poisoning outbreaks” related to baking competitions, but I bet that more people get sick after going on a Tilt-O-Whirl than after eating a sample of a pie at a county fair. It will be interesting to see if these new rules end up sticking in Europe, and if they do, hopefully the impact on baking traditions will not be a big one. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see how the impact won’t be big, considering that there aren’t that many venues that allow home bakers to show off their talents. I’m just hoping they don’t spread overseas to the US because the baking contests are always my first stop at a fair or festival and I’d hate to see them go.


  1. Whatever happened to that good old concept of caveat emptor? Seems that if you make a food item at home and it is advertised as such, people should understand that they face potential risks eating/buying that food.

  2. Once again, Big Brother has stuck his big nose into a tradition that is thousands of years old … family and friends gathering to share food. Where did we ever get the idea that we can remove all the ‘danger’ in life. The threat from a cooking contest is so insignificant that it’s ludicrous. Who sits around and thinks up such ridiculous ideas?

  3. Goodness! I’ve always had certain qualms about sharing home-baked goods (oddly enough, not about eating them). I take good care of my workspace, but there’s no way to KNOW that, say, a stray cat hair got into the batter.

    Still, as mamaloo says: if you know what you’re getting, then you can’t really complain, can you? Personally, I wonder just as much about the cleanliness of most restaurants – even if they DO go through inspections. I hope this doesn’t spread to the U.S. – bake sales are great, and lord knows our population doesn’t need any more reasons to sue.

  4. This is just one step above sending health inspectors into our homes to ensure that we’re fit to cook for our own families :p How awful!

  5. that is the sadest thing to hear. the world is just one heap of rules and regulations that result useless in the grand scale of things. and we focus our efforts in the wrong things.. sad?

  6. Yes, that´s right, and proibition is not only for cakes but for other things made by the traditional away, also.
    There some good things, for instance if a restaurant is open, it is Clean, and I mean very clean, no leftovers, nothing can bee frezze, no cutting bread with your hands, and other rules that are good, but we´re loosing small entreprises that work in a traditional away…I think they can be traditional and clean and safe at the same time…
    Always read your blog, you make such beautiful food, sorry the missplelling…big hug

  7. A ridiculous rule that will be ignored by most people in most countries — hopefully. You can’t enforce something like this, so it should be treated with the contempt it deserves.

  8. Oh for goodness sakes, how perfectly ridiculous! As if anyone entering a contest didn’t already adhere to the highest standards because they want to be the best.

    I do think that the so-called Nanny State is just getting worse and worse.

  9. Uhhh, this is quite disturbing. I’m sorry folks, but restaurants are not necessarily any cleaner than the average home kitchen. Don’t believe me? Read your local Health Department report on restaurant/food service inspections. Most jurisdictions still print them in the local paper. Many are now online. If that doesn’t convince you, ask your local pest control company how many restaurants they service. Lastly, you would most likely be shocked to find out that the FDA actually has a *standard* amount of rodent hair and feces that is acceptable in the average packaged good (meaning stuff made at food manufacturers).

    This really is just ridiculous.

  10. Wow! Why can’t they just have people sign a waver or say “eat at your own risk” or something like that? So sad.

  11. This is truly hard to believe. Here comes big brother!

  12. WOW! Its a really a really interesting post.

  13. i really like this blog..

  14. good work. interesting post..

  15. look here some one interesting..

  16. i like sweets. so good post.

  17. i like all sweets and also like pestry.

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