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To have your cake and eat it: Office cake culture lives on in Britain

“As bad as passive smoking” the head of Britain’s food regulator, Susan Jebb said of the office cake culture in late January but the custom seems alive and well regardless of her admonition driven by concerns for her compatriots’ health.

“I just don’t think there’s a real equivalence there,” Katie Mulligan, 30, told Reuters at her north London home while baking a very likely delicious beetroot cake for her colleagues at a London advertising agency. “With cakes, it’s up to you whether you eat it.”

Justifying her culinary exploits, Mulligan said she had a passion for baking and claimed her confections helped colleagues overcome the afternoon slump. Plus, beetroot is a relatively healthy option, she felt.

But to Jebb, the office cake culture is tantamount to promoting unhealthy food choices and a vicious spiral too.

“If nobody brought cakes into the office, I would not eat cakes in the day,” she told The Times newspaper. “But because people do bring cakes in, I eat them. Now, OK, I have made a choice, but people were making a choice to go into a smoky pub.”

Although not speaking on behalf of the Food Standards Agency, Jebb made the comment days after parliament published a report that said 25.9 percent of adults in England were obese and a further 37.9 percent were overweight, citing a 2021 survey.

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