Real Bread Loaf Mark bakers pass 50

By Freddie Dawson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Baker, Bread

Artisan baking techniques increased employment and lowered carbon emissions, argued the Real Bread Campaign
Artisan baking techniques increased employment and lowered carbon emissions, argued the Real Bread Campaign
More than 50 bakeries have signed up to The Real Bread Loaf Mark, a label for additive-free bread.

Chris Young, co-ordinator for the Real Bread Campaign (RBC), which launched the mark, told that more bakeries are expected to sign up soon.

“The Real Bread Campaign is fighting for better bread in Britain,” ​he said. “The way industrial loaves are currently produced could be improved to be better for the consumer, community and planet.”

The use of artisan baking techniques increased employment and lowered carbon emissions, he added.

Total production at the 50 bakeries is unclear because some are too small to record statistics.

More than two-thirds (70%) of consumers said that it was unacceptable for processing aids to be used in baking without a label declaration, according to a survey conducted on behalf of the RBC by market research group Toluna.

Consumers also complained that no ingredient list has to be displayed for unwrapped loaves.

Honest Crust Act

The campaign called for the creation of an Honest Crust Act that would require bakers to declare all ingredients for both wrapped and unwrapped bread.

 “It is hard to say how many unwrapped loaves are made with additives such as processing aids​,” said Young. “When we asked the six main retailers, only one replied that a handful of their bread lines were made without using additives.”

The other large retailers either declined to comment or gave a general statement confirming that additives could be found in some loaves.

No information about additives was available from most independent high-street bakers, said Young.

But the Federation of Bakers – which represents larger bakeries making wrapped sliced loaves – argued that processing aids should not be included on labels. That was because they do not end up in the final product, the federation’s director Gordon Polson told

Processing aid

“Our bread is all labelled to be 100% compliant with the law,” ​said Polson. “Something ​[used in the production process] is called a processing aid because it is no longer in the product when it is baked. Because it is no longer in the product, it does not have to be labelled.”

Confirmation that processing aids did not need added to ingredients lists came recently from the European Food Information Regulation.

The fact that unlabelled loaves still do not have to declare any ingredients at all is ironic, added Polson.

The Real Bread Campaign is part of Sustain – the alliance for better food and farming.

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1 comment

Time to come clean

Posted by Chris Young,

As Mr Polson is, or at least should be aware, the legislation relating to processing aids states that they '...may result in the unintentional but technically unavoidable presence of residues of the substance or its derivatives in the final product.'
Can Mr Polson guarantee that neither residues or by-products of processing aids used by his members remain in their loaves?
Notwithstanding this, mere compliance with the law is a weak argument. Just because the law sets a minimum standard does not mean that industrial bakers are unable to do better. Bakers using flour treated with the now banned substances azodicarbonimide and potassium bromate used to be compliant with the law. I’d imagine that many slave traders were once compliant with the law.
It’s good to see that Mr Polson seems to agree with one point in our call for an Honest Crust Act - the belief that a full list of ingredients, artificial additives and processing aids should appear for all loaves.
Indeed, many of the Real Bread bakers in our network have taken our encouragement to do this voluntarily. But being free of any artificial additives or processing aids, their lists tend to be considerably shorter than those on factory loaves.

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