Cakes not good enough for bureaucrats

With illegal immigration, some of the world’s highest taxes and a rapes and robberies causing allegedly chaos, the Swedish state has decided to go after a much more pressing danger: grandma’s cookies.

The battle over home-baked goods came about after the environmental health inspector in Mjölby Municipality, southwest of Stockholm, ordered the Christian café Källan to stop selling homemade sugar cookies, roll cakes and cinnamon buns.

“I would never follow such a dumb rule,” said Marianne Karlsson, a Centre Party municipal councillor. The café is non-profit and plays a very important social roll. The extra money goes to Christian groups and alcoholics’ care.”

The goodies sold are made by a group of older women who donate them to the café. For years, students have sold such products to save for class trips. Even breads at meetings or at bed-and-breakfasts are considered home baked goods and come with warning from the government.

According to the new law put in place at the start of this year following a European Union decision, strict hygiene rules should be followed and the baker should be identified on all products baked in a private kitchen.

“There isn’t really a prohibition against home-baked bread, but there isn’t a general exception either,” said Louise Nyholm, a government inspector at Sweden’s National Food Administration. “The law allows for some flexibility.”

She said that those who bake the product are responsible for its safety.

EU Commissioner Margot Wallström clarified the matter, saying the EU rule doesn’t apply to baked products served on such a small scale such as at churches or during school bake sales.

Ann-Christin Nykvist, Sweden’s Agriculture Minister, didn’t comment on the case on Monday, but her spokesman, Anders Grönvall, said the rule was being studied and clarification would be made available soon.

Until then, keep the coffee on and the sweets coming.