Danish Cinnamon Roll Faces Crisis Over Toxic Chemical

PHOTO: Traditional Danish cinnamon rolls contain an excess of a compound found in the cinnamon, according to a study.Getty Images
Traditional Danish cinnamon rolls contain an excess of a compound found in the cinnamon, according to a study.

Denmark may be saying "farvel" to Danish as they know it.

The Danish in question here is cinnamon pastry.

A government study of Danish cinnamon rolls found that the sticky, doughy treats contained too much of a toxic compound found in cassia cinnamon, or coumarin.

Read about 2013's top 5 food trends.

Although the European Union set a coumarin limit of 50 milligrams per kilogram in 2008, a study of 74 food samples by the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration found in October that 50 percent of fine baked goods contained too much coumarin.

Bakers, grocers and government officials met just before Christmas to try to resolve the problem, but the head of the Danish Bakers' Association, Hardy Christensen, told the U.K Telegraph, "It's the end of the cinnamon roll as we know it."

Coumarin, not to be confused with the blood thinner Coumadin, has been banned in the United States since 1954 because it can be toxic to the liver. It is occasionally found in imported vanilla extracts, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has in the past warned consumers not to buy these products.

In a statement on the association's website, bakers have dubbed the cinnamon crisis "kanselgate," or "cinnamongate."

Erik Jepsen, a spokesman for the Danish Ministry of Food Agriculture and Fisheries, told ABCNews.com that a second study is nearing completion to see whether bakers have changed their recipes to comply with the EU coumarin limits. Overall, he said, the response from bakers has been positive.

"But for the Danish bakers, it was essential that they could continue to make these popular rolls," Jepsen said. "We have made a task force, and they meet again at the beginning of February to see what they can come up with to reduce content of cinnamon or reduce the level in the rolls."

Try baking author Elizabeth Gilbert's cinnamon buns.