Cinnamon rolls under threat from EU legislation

The EU wants to limit how much of a toxic chemical found in cinnamon we eat, but it could mean the end of ‘kanelsnegler’ as we know them, warn bakers

Cinnamon rolls are under threat following an EU directive limiting how much of the spice can be used in baked goods.

Cinnamon contains the chemical coumarin, which is moderately toxic to the liver and kidneys. 

In an effort to reduce intake of the chemical, the EU has set two limits for its use. Traditional and seasonal baked foods will be allowed to contain much higher levels of coumarin – 50mg per kilogramme – while everyday baked good will be limited to 15mg per kilo.

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Not a traditional food
The Danish food authorities, Fødevarestyrelsen, have determined that cinnamon rolls – commonly called kanelsnegler – are neither traditional nor seasonal and therefore will have to be adhere to the lower limit.

“Most can tolerate the higher threshold [of coumarin] but there are others who can’t,” Fødevarestyrelsen spokesperson Birgit Bønsager told DR. 

She added that Fødevarestyrelsen disagreed with Sweden’s decision to classify cinnamon rolls as a traditional food.

“We have interpreted the rules in such a way that limits the amount of this chemical that consumers eat," Bønsager said. " So cinnamon rolls and other cinnamon products will have to follow the lower threshold."

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Death of the cinnamon roll
Bakers are, predictably, up in arms following the decision.

“Cinnamon rolls are of course a traditional Danish baked product,” baker Hardy Christensen, the chairman of the association of Danish bakers, told DR. “There is no point in limiting cinnamon. We have used it in Danish baking for as long as I can remember.”