A British Bakery Had to Shut Down Temporarily for Using 'Illegal' American Sprinkles

Apparently, some sprinkles are against the law.

A few days ago, the Get Baked bakery in Leeds, England, wrote a Facebook post announcing that it would be closing for a day because it needed to conduct staff training, "get some important [stuff] done," and because everyone who worked there was exhausted. That weekend alone, they said they'd had customers from several different countries, sold loads of chocolate cakes and had been visited by a representative from the country's Trading Standards agency because a customer had reported the shop for, uh, using illegal sprinkles.

Chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream decorated with rainbow sugar sprinkles
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Get Baked uses sprinkles imported from the United States on its "Birthday Bruce" cakes (its signature cake is named Bruce) and on its raspberry glazed donut cookies, which are the shop's best-selling cookies. According to the BBC, the problem is that those 'Made in the USA' sprinkles contain E127 food coloring, which can't be used in the UK in any product other than cocktail cherries and candied cherries.

"[The Trading Standards inspector] said they'd had reports of us using illegal sprinkles and I actually laughed by mistake, then realised he was being serious," Get Baked owner Rich Myers told the outlet. "To whoever reported us to Trading Standards, all I have to say is: 'Dear Lord, what a sad little life Jane'."

Myers said that he buys the imported sprinkles from a wholesaler in the U.K. and, although the idea of "illegal sprinkles" is inherently funny, no longer being allowed to serve sprinkle-coated treats could have a serious impact on Myers' shop. "I know it sounds like a small thing but it is a big deal for my business. We used them a lot," he said. "Our best-selling cookies, we're not going to be able to sell them anymore. For a small independent business that only has a small menu, it's a problem."

The Trading Standards website advises customers to report businesses that have "broken the law or acted unfairly," including those who sold customers something that was fake, not as described, or unsafe or dangerous "like an electronic appliance with faulty wiring or food past its use-by date." Technically, sprinkles that use the E127 food coloring aren't permitted in sugary confections, but reporting the shop as "unsafe," one could argue, seems a bit extreme. (In the U.S., E127 is known as FD&C Red No. 3. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it for use in 1969, and says it "may be safely used for coloring foods generally.")

Unfortunately, that Trading Standards report means that Get Baked may be sprinkle-free for the near future. "Obviously, we will be following the rules, and removing them as of now," Myers wrote on Facebook. "It is HIGHLY unlikely that we will find any legal sprinkles that we will use as a replacement. British sprinkles just aren't the same, they're totally [crap] and I hate them. I am extremely passionate about sprinkles."

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