Hong Kong Baker’s Protest-themed Cake Disqualified from International Contest

Christy Leung, Phoebe Zhang and Kathleen Magramo wrote . . . . . . . . .

A Hong Kong baker’s protest-themed cake was disqualified from an international cake competition in Britain after a contestant from mainland China lodged a complaint about the message it carried.

The baker from 3rd Space Cafe in Sheung Wan received an email on Saturday from Cake International, organiser of the event in Birmingham, which said the entry had been removed from the competition area. The Post has seen the email.

“The content and message behind the cake has been viewed as offensive and [it] led to complaints from attendees, therefore the decision has been taken to withdraw it from the competition,” it said.

An employee from the cafe said they were “surprised that the British organiser would give in”.

“There are many artworks around the world that talk about different social problems or even politics,” he said.

The employee said the baker, who did not want to be named, had joined the competition to fulfil her cake art aspirations and to “express her deepest concerns over what happened in her home”.

The giant square cake featured a sugarcrafted black bauhinia, a dozen yellow helmets, umbrellas, and a Guy Fawkes mask – symbols of Hong Kong’s ongoing anti-government protests, which were sparked in June by the now-withdrawn extradition bill.

There was also a sugarcrafted protester wearing a black shirt, goggles and a yellow helmet, while an umbrella also featured in the middle of the cake along with the slogan “Five demands, not one less”.

But Cake International cited an entirely different reason on its Facebook page for disqualifying the entry from Hong Kong. It said the cake was “oversized”.

It cited the rules of the contest: “No part of the exhibit can overhang the allowed area. Oversized exhibits will be disqualified.”

According to the rules of Cake International on its webpage, all dummy cakes and exhibits must be on a board between 1.27cm and 3.81cm (0.5 to 1.5 inches) in thickness.

The size of the disqualified entry could not be verified by press time. But the organiser’s Facebook post instantly drew sharp reactions from many Hongkongers.

One comment read: “Thank you for allowing China censorship to spread to the whole world.”

Another said: “If someone is threatening to damage a cake, you … ban them, not ban the cake.”

The cake also drew wide media attention after its removal from the competition. Cake International’s Facebook post addressing the disqualification received nearly 5000 “angry emoji” responses.

Many people also wrote messages of support on 3rd Space Cafe’s Instagram page, such as: “You are the number one in my heart already.”

Another contestant at the event, Chen Yao from Zhejiang province on the mainland, confirmed to the Post that she had filed a complaint with the organiser about the entry from Hong Kong.

“We are actively asking the organiser to disqualify this item, because whether we win or not, we cannot let this happen,” Chen said in a video clip she posted on popular Chinese social media platform Weibo on Friday.

The 3rd Space entry was disqualified the next morning and withdrawn from display by the afternoon.

Chen told the Post the competition should be “purely based on cultural expression and art skills”.

“We can exchange skills, culture and insights. We can have different opinions. But it is unacceptable to allow people with ulterior political motives to create art under the guise of ‘freedom’, ” she said.

Commenting on it, an employee from 3rd Space said: “I am not surprised that people from mainland China might feel offended as the movement has been named the ‘Hong Kong independence’ movement, though none of the five demands of the Hongkongers has anything to do with that.”

Source: SCMP

Menu Labelling Linked to Less Fat and Salt in Food at Major UK Restaurant Chains

Food sold at restaurants whose menus display energy information are lower in fat and salt than that of their competitors, according to new research from CEDAR.

The researchers behind the study argue that if government policy made menu labelling mandatory, it could encourage restaurants to produce healthier options, leading to public health benefits.

Obesity levels worldwide have almost tripled since 1975, making it one of the most pressing public health challenges today. Poor diet is a leading contributor to obesity as well as to diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Food from restaurants and fast food takeaways tends to be high in energy, fat, sugar and salt compared to food prepared at home. Some health campaigners have called for restaurants to improve the nutritional information available to customers. Mandatory menu labelling for large restaurant chains was introduced in the US in May 2018. In the UK, the government included voluntary menu labelling in its Public Health Responsibility Deal in 2011. A proposal for compulsory menu labelling was included in last year’s Childhood Obesity Plan and a public consultation closed last December, but no announcement on a final policy has been made so far.

The assumption behind such measures is that providing customers with clearer information on the energy content of food served will allow them to make more informed, and hence ‘better’, choices. But it is also possible that menu labelling could change what outlets serve, as nutritionally-poor food could lead to bad publicity.

Researchers at the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), University of Cambridge, set out to determine whether there were differences in the energy and nutritional content of menu items served by popular UK chain restaurants with ,versus without, voluntary menu labelling in their stores. Their results are published today in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

The team first looked at energy and nutritional information on the websites of the most popular 100 UK restaurant chains during March and April 2018. Of these 100 restaurants, 42 provided some form of energy and nutritional information online, but only 13 provided menu labelling in stores.

Items from restaurants with in-store menu labelling had on average 45% less fat and 60% less salt than items from other restaurants.

Dolly Theis from CEDAR and the MRC Epidemiology Unit at Cambridge said:

“This is the first study to look at differences in nutritional content of food from restaurants with and without menu labelling in the UK. It suggests that on the whole, restaurants that provide information on calories on menus also serve healthier food, in terms of fat and salt levels. As well as providing useful information for customers, mandatory menu labelling could also encourage restaurants to improve the nutritional quality of their menus.”

The researchers say that it is possible that menu labelling encourages restaurants to change the content of their food and also that those chains with ‘healthier’ offerings are more likely to label their menus. Twelve of the 14 restaurants that provided voluntary menu labelling were in the top 50 restaurants by sales – larger chains may come under more scrutiny from governments, the media, campaign groups and the public to provide both menu labelling and healthier options.

Across all menu categories, at least three-quarters of individual menu items were below the daily maximum recommended intake for energy, fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt. However, some individual items contained more than twice the daily recommended amount for energy, fat, saturated fat, sugar or salt. In one case, an individual dish contained 5,961Kcal – almost three times the daily recommended maximum for an average adult woman.

Dr Jean Adams added:

“We found some restaurant items that hugely exceeded the daily recommended intake for energy, fats, sugar and salt. More than a quarter of UK adults eat meals out at least once a week, so such large or nutritionally-imbalanced portions could contribute to poor dietary intake at a population level.”

Source: University of Cambridge

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