Great British Bake Off: Vegan contestant Freya Cox had to use animal products during a challenge

The Great British Bake Off has come under fire after its first vegan contestant had to use animal products during a technical challenge.

Freya Cox, 19, apologised to fans before the cake week episode was shown on Channel 4 for being unable to use a vegan recipe.

Miss Cox, a model from Scarborough, wrote a ‘disclaimer’ on Instagram, saying: ‘I was desperate to show the world vegan baking is just as exciting with the hope to inspire people to give it a go.

‘For obvious reasons I wasn’t able to change the technical challenge as it would mean the whole show was unfair.’

Bake Off contestant Freya Cox (pictured), 19, a model from Scarborough, apologised to fans before the cake week episode was shown on Channel 4 for being unable to use a vegan recipe

Bake Off contestant Freya Cox (pictured), 19, a model from Scarborough, apologised to fans before the cake week episode was shown on Channel 4 for being unable to use a vegan recipe

Bake Off contestant Freya Cox (pictured), 19, a model from Scarborough, apologised to fans before the cake week episode was shown on Channel 4 for being unable to use a vegan recipe

Elisa Allen, director of animal welfare group Peta, branded the decision by producers ‘disgraceful’ and said it could compel contestants to ‘violate their ethical, religious, or other principles’.

She added: ‘We’re in the midst of a vegan revolution, and the producers are taking the cake by not allowing contestants to ‘veganise’ recipes in the technical challenge.’

Using vegan products would ‘enhance and enliven’ the competition and inspire viewers to try alternative plant-based recipes, she said.

Francine Jordan, a spokeswoman for the Vegan Society commented that it only makes sense to ensure vegan products are used during every task if the show has welcomed a vegan baker.

Meanwhile, an animal rights activist who helped ethical veganism become enshrined in British law also spoke out about the issue.

Speaking to The Times, Jordi Casamitjana, 55, said: ‘Respect people at the start of their philosophies when they’re young and don’t put them into a situation at the beginning where they are confronting these dilemmas in the public eye with a lot of eyes scrutinising and criticising.

At 19-years-old, psychology student Cox is the youngest contestant among this year's cast of bakers on the show

At 19-years-old, psychology student Cox is the youngest contestant among this year's cast of bakers on the show

At 19-years-old, psychology student Cox is the youngest contestant among this year’s cast of bakers on the show

‘For that I feel part of the fault of this situation lies with the producers of the programme.’ 

At 19-years-old, psychology student Cox is the youngest contestant among this year’s cast of bakers on the show. 

And commenting on the situation Cox found herself in, Nama Klein, who runs a vegan bakery in Bromley, southeast London, told the publication that if she were faced in a situation that compromised her beliefs, she would have found it unacceptable. 

Love Productions, which makes the show, and Channel 4 have been contacted for comment. 

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