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German court: No sawdust in cookies

December 21, 2020

Judges upheld a city ban on the sale of cookies made with sawdust. The producer says it is a traditional vegetable product but the court was not convinced.

Danish cranberry cookies - file photo
Image: DW

An administrative court in the southwestern German city of Karlsruhe has upheld a ban on the sale of cookies containing sawdust. The decision struck down a challenge brought by an online shop owner who argued the city had no right to stop him from selling the treats.

The cookie manufacturer says he has been making his product for about 20 years and has always listed sawdust as an ingredient alongside things like raisins and flour. The producer's website says it uses only microbiologically pure sawdust. In court, the owner of the natural products shop argued that the ingredient was a vegetable product. 

Court records show that he approached the city to apply for the right to sell his cookies in 2004 but in 2017 the city of Karlsruhe prohibited further sales after random testing by health inspectors found they contained sawdust.

On Monday, the court announced its decision — which is not yet legally binding and is subject to appeal at Baden-Württemberg's State Higher Administrative Court — with the following statement: "These cookies must not be allowed into the food chain because they are not safe, and are, objectively seen, not fit for human consumption." Further, despite the producer's argument that sawdust was a traditional ingredient,  the court said "it isn't even used in the industrial animal feed sector."

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js/dj (AFP, dpa)