London Fire Brigade fans the flames of the debate between Mary Berry and Gregg Wallace


The London Fire Brigade has weighed into the spat between Mary Berry and Gregg Wallace over deep-fat fryers - saying that the baking queen was right to say that no home should have one.

Great British Bake Off star Mary, 81, provoked controversy when she told a magazine that "I don't think any household should have a deep-fat fryer".

MasterChef judge Gregg responded by saying that Mary's opposition to the deep-fat fryer is "an attack on our British way of life".

Gregg Wallace

Now Andy Hearn, Deputy Assistant Commissioner at London Fire Brigade, has taken issue with Gregg's remarks.

"The British way of life isn't about doing something that could potentially place your home and family at risk, and if you're not careful, using a deep-fat fryer could do just that," he said.

"Mary Berry is absolutely correct, deep-fat fryers, especially the traditional chip pans, can be dangerous and unfortunately they cause serious fires every week.

"I'm not saying people must stop eating chips, but there are far safer ways to enjoy them than preparing them using these fryers. Visiting the chip shop or making oven chips are much safer options."

The London Fire Brigade posted a video on its Twitter feed of a demonstration by firefighters showing a huge blaze caused by water falling into a pan full of hot fat.

According to the Brigade, more than one fire a week is caused by deep-fat fryers.

It said that deep-fat fryers have caused 630 house fires and 70 injuries in London alone since 2010.

On Monday Mary stuck by her comments, telling the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that deep-fat fryers are dangerous because they cause fires and are detrimental to health.

"I have never, on any of my programmes, ever used a deep-fat fryer," she said.

"Nowadays everybody eats in the kitchen, I know we do, and I certainly don't want the smell of frying while I'm eating.

"And so we do have oven chips from time to time when the grandchildren come - give them a treat - but I usually do things in the oven rather than frying.

"I think it's unhealthy as well."

Mary Berry on the red carpet

She added: "Years ago I was on a programme - Good Afternoon (with Judith Chalmers) - and we had a fireman in the programme, and he told me that most kitchen fires were caused by deep-fat frying because... most people cook with a pan of fat on top of their cooker, and sometimes they get distracted and there's a fire."

Gregg blasted fellow BBC star Mary in the Sun On Saturday, writing: "Our nation was built on chips and spam fritters... I love Mary dearly but this is an attack on our British way of life."

The Brigade's advice to people who use chip pans or traditional fat fryers includes never filling a chip pan over a third full with oil or fat, not leaving the pan alone with the heat on, and not throwing water or using a fire extinguisher on a hot fat fire.