In 1917, wheat and other cereals were suffering from severe shortages; supplies were affected by poor harvest, reduced imports as a result of enemy action and lack of manpower. The supply of bread became a major concern. The Ministry of Food introduced The Bread Order which made it illegal to sell a loaf until 12 hours after it had been baked. According to The Times, the government realised that stale bread was ‘more nutritious’ and would be consumed 5% less than fresh. This was not popular!
“BREAD PROSECUTION. – Before the Bourne Bench on 19th Inst., John Henry Vaux, of Langtoft, was summoned for selling bread under 12 hours old at Langtoft on July 4th. Mr. H. Kelham defended, and defendant pleaded not guilty, and denied selling a new loaf. The Bench dismissed the case, the Chairman saying he would refrain from passing any comments which he felt very much inclined to do.”
Stamford Mercury, 27th July, 1917.