EU Worried Danish Cinnamon Rolls Could Cause Liver Damage

Bakers in Denmark are unhappy with guidelines regulating how much of the spice they can use.
.v1ctor Casale./flickr

Hopefully we know by now not to eat a heaping spoonful of cinnamon, no matter what hilarity and brief Internet fame may ensue. But used appropriately in, say, a pastry context, you'd think would be okay. The European Union seems to be of a different opinion, though—that you can overdo it, even on a seemingly-innocuous cinnamon roll. 

The EU's regulations on a common type of cinnamon called cassia limit how much bakers can use: 50 milligrams per kilogram of dough, if it's a traditional or seasonal pastry, or 15 milligrams per kilogram if it's just a regular old everyday pastry. The concern is that cassia contains high levels of coumarin, a natural substance that can cause liver damage, if you eat too much.

This particular kerfuffle comes because the Danish food authority recently classified kanelsnegler, or cinnamon rolls, as an everyday pastry, which gives bakers a lot less cinnamon to work with than if the rolls were considered "seasonal."

"It's the end of the cinnamon roll as we know it," Hardy Christensen, the head of the Danish Baker's Association, told The Telegraph. The union is extra miffed because in Sweden, cinnamon rolls are classified as traditional, seasonal pastries, so Swedish bakers can be much more liberal in their use of the spice. The union argues that people would need to eat a whole lot of cinnamon rolls to put themselves in danger.

In light of all this, Denmark's food authorities are staying the final call until February, giving pastry-lovers a little more time to eat the cinnamoniest possible rolls.

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Julie Beck is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Health Channel.

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