The Real Bread Campaign (RBC) has reopened the debate as to what consitutes ’freshly’ baked bread with the launch of its latest drive, which has seen bake-off breads come under fire.

As previously reported by British Baker in December 2010, bakery retailers selling products that have previously been frozen could be forced to label them as pre-frozen or defrosted under proposed EU legislation. A spokesperson for the RBC said that after a loaf has been fully baked, it has no problem with it being frozen, but he claimed that: "Bake-off loaves are not freshly baked, they are re-baked, and we believe that marketing them as fresh, is misleading."

A spokesperson for the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said all its members fully complied with current EU leglisation. She noted there are two proposed amendments currently being debated at European level. The first is simply to include the words ’pre-frozen or defrosted’ to the list of treatments that a product has undergone, where to not tell the customer would be misleading. She said the BRC supports this, as the practice is already adhered to by its members.

"The second proposed amendment would also remove the clause that says ’where not to tell the customer would mislead them’," she added. "This is going too far. How would it benefit the consumer if it makes no difference to the quality of the product? Our concern is that consumers will mistake pre-freezing as giving you a product of lesser quality, which is, by and large, not the case."

Stanley Cauvain, director of bakery consultancy BakeTran, said the debate as to what consitutes ’freshly’ baked bread has been rumbling on for more than a decade, and is no closer to reaching a definition. He said the second bake does increase the rate of subsequent staling, but added: "To me the only remaining question is whether the marketing of re-heated bread as fresh is morally or ethically correct. As far as the bread product is concerned it is scientifically ’fresh’."