February 26, 2009

German Bakers Outraged by Proposed E.U. Salt Regulations

Whoever thought that baking bread and the energy crisis would go hand in hand? If you are to believe Germany’s finest bread bakers, you’ll see the connection. Apparently, European Union health officials are pushing a mandate to regulate salt content in products, infuriating German bakers whose heavy bread loaves and famous salted pretzels require substantial salt.

Labeling the bureaucrats in Brussels the “taste police,” German bakers have rallied and with the support of multiple unions and lobbies, including the Central Association of German Bakeries, a lobby for 12,000 of the country’s 15,000 bakeries, have forced E.U. officials to continue talks with bakers before making a final decision, originally scheduled to be handed down on Wednesday.

According to today’s New York Times, the bakers remained skeptical, saying they were convinced that Brussels would try to dictate changes to the recipes for their breads and the popular — and heavily salted — pretzel once the European Parliament elections were out of the way in June.

Interviews by the Times’ Judy Dempsey, Matthias Wiemers, chairman of the Central Association of German Bakeries said, “What the E.U. is doing amounts to stupid interference.”

“The E.U. is trying to change the way we bake our bread, change the way we market it — and of all things, change the taste of our bread,” Mr. Wiemers said. “And all this is taking place just months before we go to the polls to elect a new European Parliament. This is exactly the kind of interference and overregulation by Brussels that annoys citizens and even makes the E.U. unpopular.”

You can read the full New York Times story here.

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