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In the past the French have been notorious for manipulating the complex rules and regulations of the European Union to their own advantage, but they now appear to have been hoist by their own petard. A bakery in Barnsley is taking advantage of a legal loophole to sell lorry-loads of long-life baguettes to French Railways.
EU law makes no mention of the use of fat, a key component in the long-life process. Under French domestic law, however, it is forbidden. So, much to the undisguised fury of local boulangers, only non-French companies can import loaves that stay fresh on trains, where taking on newly-baked supplies twice a day is expensive and impracticable.
The Barnsley firm’s owner, John Foster, a diplomat in the making, said that “In Yorkshire, we’ve a tradition of giving customers what they want. We are shipping our baguettes out to France by the wagon-load. And it won’t stop there: we can make brioche by the same method, an even bigger market opportunity.”
From our June 2008 newsletter