Clamping down on home bakers will not benefit sector

Ms Chong Siew Yen has correctly highlighted that small bakeries face challenges such as high rental fees and stiff competition from larger bakeries ("Get tough on unlicensed home bakers"; last Thursday).

However, I disagree with her suggestion that the right response to these problems is for the authorities to clamp down on home bakers.

I am the founder of an online bakery marketplace for home bakers and baked-goods consumers.

Many passionate home bakers featured on my website have a strong commitment to good hygiene practices, including tips outlined in the Housing Board's and Urban Redevelopment Authority's Home Based Small Scale Business Scheme.

These bakers produce their goods in small quantities to ensure that their focus remains to deliver high-quality products to their customers.

Indeed, several home bakers have been selling their goods for many years without any health or hygiene incidents.

Instead of clamping down on home bakers, we should recognise and reward them for providing the market with artisanal and unique baked items that are not offered by large bakeries.

It is important that home bakers are accountable for the baked goods they sell.

However, heavily regulating and shutting them down are over-reactions that will ultimately harm innovation within the baking industry and reduce choices for consumers.

It will also not reduce rental fees for small bakeries or protect them from competition against large ones.

Denis Edward

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2016, with the headline Clamping down on home bakers will not benefit sector. Subscribe