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Cake ban in Norwegian cabinet

The sweet days of cabinet ministers of are over, after the prime minister's office asked cabinet members to replace such treats with fruits and veggies.

by: Reuters | 27 Mar 2007

The health-food push apparently began after an off-the-cuff remark by a minister at a recent cabinet meeting that he gained 7 kg (15 pounds) snacking on the sweets customarily offered on Norwegian boardroom tables, the daily Aftenposten said.

"Ministers lead stressful lives and eat whatever is available, if you give them cake, they eat cake," said Karl Eirik Schoett-Pedersen, the prime minister's chief of staff who sent a memo to ministries asking them to drop sweets from menus.

"If we give them fruit and vegetables, that's what they will eat," he told Aftenposten, insisting that the memo was a suggestion and not a directive.

Daily Dagens Naeringsliv said the government of this wealthy and health-conscious nation launched a "political vendetta" against sweets because its own "cake eating is out of control."

Schoett-Pedersen admitted to putting on unwanted political weight as fisheries minister in a previous center-left cabinet, when he ordered his ministry's canteen to keep his favorite snack, Danish butter cookies, in stock at all times.

"After a rough day, it's perfectly normal to think 'yeah, I deserve a piece of cake'," he was quoted as saying.

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