Representatives from the Federation of Master Builders today petitioned Parliament to overturn the recent decision to categorise Greggs pasties as class A drugs, alongside heroin and crack cocaine.
The government has been under intense public pressure to implement a wide scale ban of hot savoury products following a spate of deaths. The Daily Mail in particular has been extremely vocal about the threat posed by pies and pasties, linking both to increased cancer risks.
Providing evidence to the select committee who recommended the ban, Dr MacDonald of Edinburgh University said, “These products seem innocuous but the reality is they ruin lives. Amongst the building community, pastry use is very common. Known colloquially as ‘P’ or ‘nom nom’, you can pick up a dose for as little as 79p on every high street in the land; it’s reached epidemic proportions. They are far cheaper than crack, something already synonymous with the construction fraternity.”
He added, “There are few things more pitiful than seeing a once proud brickie or sparks supine on the floor, big salty tears streaming down his face, hyperventilating as he tries to swallow a bite of a volcanically hot sausage and bean melt. We cannot stand by and risk losing an entire generation of trades to this problem.”
A spokesperson for Greggs told the committee, “These pastry products, especially the sausage rolls, are largely hamless. I don’t see what’s wrong with an occasional steak bake or cheese and onion pie. We clearly ask our customers to consume responsibly. Greggs also refutes the allegation that our bacon sandwiches are discounted to act as ‘gateways’, enticing people into buying hard-core pastry products.”
The committee heard evidence from a Suffolk plasterer, speaking anonymously from behind a screen about his experiences. “Look, there’s a recession on, you’ve had a bad day and start having an occasional sausage roll to pick you up at your mid-morning break. Before you know it, you’re sat in your van outside your regular supplier at 7.45 am, waiting for it to open. I’ve even seen desperate builders offer to ‘service’ their suppliers in exchange for a chilli beef lattice. That’s not a pretty sight.” The anonymous construction worker also spoke about the dangers of buying cheaper, counterfeit pastries. “You just don’t know what’s in them. I’ve seen some cut with all sorts of vegetables and other junk.”
However, the move has shocked the construction community, who have argued previously that consumption of Greggs pasties is part of their cultural heritage. They claim that this ban is tantamount to discrimination against builders.
They have also defended the use of savouries in a social context. The Federation’s Head of Policy for Pastry Use told us, “Clearly, a few people have overindulged and given us all a bad name but casual use of pastries, such as having a festive bake on a Saturday morning or when friends come round for a party hurts nobody. The Greggs Charitable Foundation also funds a support programme for those tradies who are over reliant on Greggs and can offer anonymous one to one help, as well as pioneering use of quiche to overcome the effects of withdrawal. We recognise there is an issue but this heavy-handed approach helps no-one. God help the members of the committee if their pipes freeze or boiler breaks down this winter.”