You might think of sprinkles as a cheerful, harmless dessert topping — but for one British bakery, a certain brand of "illegal" American sprinkles caused it close its doors for a day and remove two staple items from its menu.
Get Baked, a bakery based in Leeds, England, wrote on Facebook in early October that they would be closed the next day for several reasons: Staff training, the need to catch up on other work, exhaustion among employees, and a recent "lovely visit from Trading Standards" after an anonymous customer reported the bakery for "using what are apparently illegal sprinkles."
Trading Standards is a British agency that responds to customer concerns and complaints regarding business practices. The "illegal sprinkles" that Get Baked referenced in its post are manufactured in the United States and are banned in the United Kingdom because one of their ingredients, E127, is "only approved for use in the U.K. and the E.U. in cocktail and candied cherries," according to a statement the agency gave the BBC.
In the United States, E127, also known as erythrosine, is called FD&C Red No. 3 and was approved for use as a food coloring in 1969.
Get Baked used the "illegal sprinkles" on its Raspberry Glazed Donut Cookies, the bakery's bestselling cookies, and on its Birthday Bruce, a 24-layer chocolate cake. A week after Trading Standards visited, Get Baked was told that they must "cease use of" the sprinkles "with immediate effect."
"Obviously we will be following the rules and removing them as of now … A LOT of people ask for Birthday Bruce’s and Rasperry Glazed Donut Cookies are not only our best selling cookie, but they’re utterly sensational," wrote Get Baked owner Rich Myers in a Facebook post earlier this week. In the same post, he noted that he doesn't know who reported the business and started "Sprinklegate."
While the issue may seem small, Myers said the change was "very f---ing annoying" and said that he wouldn't be able to replace the sweet topping with a similar, approved product.
"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 s--- and I hate them," wrote Myers. "I am extremely passionate about sprinkles."
In a comment on the post, Myers elaborated on his loathing for British sprinkle options.
"Anyone who’s into sprinkles will know what I'm on about," Myers wrote. "Sprinkles you can get in this country are totally s---. They look (crap), they bake (crap). Birthday Bruce will never be the same again. I’ve genuinely lost sleep over this."
In another comment, he added that if he can't use the U.S. sprinkles, he "won't use any" and will "be on sprinkle strike."
For now, Myers is considering changing the two recipes of the affected products.
"I need to think this one over, we will obviously need to make some adjustments to the menu in order to compensate for this truly horrendous ordeal," Myers wrote, noting that he could glaze the doughnut cookies like usual without using any sprinkles, though the thought "makes (him) sick" to consider.