Page last updated at 12:03 GMT, Tuesday, 2 June 2009 13:03 UK

Home baking ban at school fairs

The council said home baking was banned for health and safety reasons

Home baking has been banned from schools in Dundee because the council believes it is a health risk.

Letters were sent to parents at a city primary telling them that the cake stall would not be allowed at the end-of-term fun day.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said home-made cakes on school stalls should be safe to eat as long as the bakers followed good hygiene rules.

One of Scotland's top microbiologists also said the ban was "over the top".

A Dundee City Council spokesman said: "Head teachers have been issued with advice not to sell home-made food goods at events organised by the school itself.

"The decision has been taken by the education department on health and safety grounds."

If it's home baked scones or bread or something like that it's about as safe a food as you can get
Prof Hugh Pennington

Morven McLhean has three boys at Newfields Primary, Kingspark School and Braeview Academy.

She said: "Sometimes you can sort of see the sense in things like this, but other times you just think, 'What's the harm in a couple of fairy cakes?'

"There's always kids that are allergic to nuts and I think if it was your child that had the allergy you'd be more wary, but sometimes they can take it too far."

Alison Coghill, who has two sons at Gowriehill Primary, added: "It [school fairs] is a good day out for the kids, obviously you want to make sure it's healthy and edible and things like that.

"It [the ban] is quite bad because it raises money for the school and everything else, but you don't want people to be sick either."

Food poisoning

However, Lynsey Flynn, whose daughter is in primary seven at Claypotts Castle Primary, agreed with the council.

She said: "I don't like my own children to eat food that other parents have made because I'm not sure of the cleanliness of their houses, therefore they could get food poisoning or any illnesses.

"There are other ways of raising money through different kinds of activities, through sponsored walks, sponsored reading, sports, rather than cakes and things like that."

The FSA guidance on selling home baking on school stalls states: "Home-made cakes should be safe to eat, as long as the people who make them observe good food hygiene, and the cakes are stored and transported safely."

Microbiologist Hugh Pennington told BBC Scotland that the ban was going too far.

"This is food that is pretty safe actually unless it's got cream fillings or that kind of stuff, but if it's home baked scones or bread or something like that it's about as safe a food as you can get," he said.

"They're not taking any chances even if the risk is so vanishingly low that you can almost laugh at it.

"Perhaps a bit a OTT."

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