Experts call to ban the school bake sale
We're a country of cake-lovers, but some experts are suggesting that it might be time to think the unthinkable and ban fundraising bake sales.
That's the opinion of health and safety software company Protecting who think that the goodwill of buying and scoffing a home-baked treat for a good cause is outweighed by the risks of the 'danger cake'.
Spokesperson Mark Hall said: "Nobody wants food poisoning.
"Concern for the dangers is often mistaken for snowflakery by people who didn't mind the odd case of the squirts back in the day.
"One person's spotlessly clean kitchen is another person's food poisoning death trap.
"We have first-hand experience of a local amateur cake enthusiast who claims his kitchen is perfectly clean...and it is, apart from the pet cats he allows to strut all over the work surfaces.
"We doubt very much that anyone baking cakes at home has an food hygiene certificate.
"We've also heard of school cake sales where over-enthusiastic young members of the home economics class claim to have spat in the mix before slapping it into the oven - urban myth? Who knows?
"There's also a major problem for people with allergies.
"The label may say 'free of nuts', 'gluten free', or 'dairy free' but how do you really know?"
The question of allergies – which can cause a life-threatening health reaction – is a stark reminder of the risks of consuming food from a questionable, if well-meaning, source.
Commercial kitchens come with very strict sets of regulations designed to protect customers from food poisoning and the accidental serving of allergens.
Mark said: "There are rules for preparation areas, rules for the storing of raw and cooked products, and rules for the personal cleanliness of kitchen staff and these rules and regulations exist for the protection of the public, and nobody in their right mind has a problem with them.
"So why do people happily go out and buy food products from a random kitchen in somebody's house where these controls don't exist?"
So what does Mark suggest as an alternative to the traditional bake sale?
His recommendation is that well-meaning volunteer bakers embrace life as the 'cake sale cheat' - that is, buy a shop bought cake and donate it to the cause in it's original packaging.
"Everybody's a winner," says Mark.
"The cake sale wins, the cake shop wins, and all of us win as well."