Compliance, the chicken and egg problem

Food hygiene certification

During his visit to inspect my food hygiene compliance, the inspector from Test Valley Borough Council explained to me the limitations attached to my “home baker” status.

What I sell directly to the consumers – mostly my colleagues for the time being – can contain “unprocessed animal products”, and that’s mostly eggs and meat. On the other hand, whatever I sell to a retailer for resale (and for the time being, that’s Luc), can’t. That means: no quiches, no cakes, a very limited range of biscuits.

That’s why my contributions to Luc’s range have been mostly bread-based: breadsticks and focaccie.

So, I see you asking, how is it you announce that biscuits containing egg whites are available at Luc’s?

Croquants aux noix (walnut biscuits)

Easy: I used “processed egg whites”, available in a carton at the local supermarket. These have been treated to destroy any latent germs, and no longer count as “unprocessed animal products”.

Now, for a bake like the croquants aux noix, the processing doesn’t cause any problem: the recipe really contains just a dash of egg whites to bind the dough.

I have no idea how they would work for macarons, for instance, or meringue. I might have to do some testing before the carton of egg whites expires. Oh, and I forgot to mention, they contain an additive, guar gum, which may change things as well.

It’s also possible to obtain 2-litre bottles of whole eggs, but I’m told they’re not really good for baking sponges, for instance. And the quantity is another problem. 2 litres equal 40 medium eggs. That’s far too much for me at the moment, I hate wasting food. Unless I get an order for a large number of quiches, I don’t see me using that for the time being…

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