Italy: Swedish Christmas gingerbread ‘toxic’

Italy: Swedish Christmas gingerbread 'toxic'
An EU-wide warning has been issued by Italy over Swedish gingerbread, a Christmas speciality. The Italians claim the gingerbread, or pepparkakor as the biscuits are known, contain higher levels of the toxin coumarin than permitted under European rules.

Coumarin, which occurs naturally in cinnamon, causes liver damage if consumed in large quantities. But Jan Sjögren at Sweden’s National Food Administration insisted on Thursday that pepparkakor were safe.

“We have informed municipalities about the warning, but do not think that pepparkakor should be taken off the market,” he said.

Sjögren added that pepparkakor were safe to eat, saying the EU would soon approve a higher limit for coumarin content in food.