Volunteers at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, Cumbria, have spent decades baking cakes to raise money for equipment the NHS cannot afford.Because we can’t have people helping out with fundraising unless they have the necessary paperwork and someone is taking a cut of the action. Like these people…
But now officials at the hospital have claimed the hospital's League of Friends' sponge cakes and tea loaves contravene guidelines.
The hospital blames the ban on strict rules over packaging and labelling from the Food Standards Agency – although the FSA maintained last night it made no such demands on the ladies' cakes.Hmm, I wonder what the real story is here? Just officialdom being obstructionist for the sake of it, or to prevent possible legal action, or something else…?
Alan Davidson, the hospital's director of estates and facilities, said: "We appreciate the support volunteers give to our hospitals but there are strict guidelines in place, enforced by the FSA, over food sold to the public.So, what does the FSA say?
"This means all food should be packaged appropriately, date-stamped and ingredients listed.
"This is in the interests of maintaining and protecting the health of the public."
However, an FSA spokeswoman said: "There is nothing in our guidelines that prevents the sale of home-made cakes at fundraising events. A common-sense approach and care that the cakes are stored properly should be taken."So, either Mr Davidson, or someone in his office, lacks common sense.
She added that the FSA insisted only that the volunteers followed "basic food hygiene principles" – such as ensuring hands, utensils and surfaces were clean, food was properly cooked and chilled and cross-contamination of foods was avoided.
According to the FSA. And according to millions of people paying his salary via tax, who’d rather the hospital concerned itself with resolving this kind of thing than worrying about a few little old ladies baking cakes…