You know sprinkles? The things we put on cupcakes, spill all over our counters, and find days later hiding in the corners of our kitchen? Well, have you heard of illegal sprinkles? Apparently, they exist, at least in the U.K., where some sprinkles are against the law for reasons I will get to in a second. But first, allow me to introduce you to Get Baked, the U.K. bakery that brought the words illegal sprinkles into my life and is now your new favorite Facebook account.
The Leeds-based bakery is known for its decadent baked goods, like this 24-layer chocolate cake called, simply, Bruce. As you might expect, some of the treats Get Baked sells feature rainbow sprinkles, including a version of the aforementioned cake called the Birthday Bruce. This, apparently, was a problem with someone — luckily for that person, their identity is unknown — who reported the bakery to the U.K.’s Trading Standards for using “illegal sprinkles.”
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,” bakery owner Rich Myers told BBC. As explained in a Facebook post, Get Baked imports sprinkles from the U.S., which can contain color additives that aren’t allowed in the U.K. Namely, erythrosin, or Red Dye No. 3, which a spokesperson for Trading Standards told the BBC is only approved for use in the U.K. in cocktail cherries and candied cherries. A member of Trading Standards came to test the sprinkles for the additive, and, unfortunately, Get Baked got some bad news.
“No one can deny the turmoil that has ensued ever since that fateful visit from the man in a boring tie,” a post on Get Baked’s Facebook page lamented, later saying that it would follow the rules (“obviously”) and cease the use of its illegal sprinkles. “Whilst this might seem like it’s not a big deal, it’s actually very fucking annoying,” as some of its best-selling products use these sprinkles. “It is HIGHLY unlikely that we will find any legal sprinkles that we will use as a replacement,” the post continues. “British sprinkles just aren’t the same, they’re totally shit and I hate them.”
As Myers told BBC, the British sprinkles aren’t bake stable and the colors often run. Additionally, “the colours aren’t vibrant and they just don’t look very good.” He’s right. They don’t. “I am extremely passionate about sprinkles,” Myers added, in case that wasn’t abundantly clear.
Of course, something as small as sprinkles can be a big problem for a small business. “Our best-selling cookie, we’re not going to be able to sell them anymore,” Myers told BBC. “For a small independent business that only has a small menu, it’s a problem.” For now, its goodies will be sprinkleless.
If you’re curious, the FDA has limited the use of Red Dye No. 3 in the U.S. after some studies found that very high doses of the color additive can cause cancer in lab rats. However, that will not stop me from using this gorgeous contraband. Justice for these sprinkles!