And culinary science, alas, has not yet figured out how to make prawn cocktail-flavored crisps without a heavy dose of saccharin or aspartame.
Also threatened by the order, which is not yet final, are such other ''gourmet" crisps as spicy chicken, spring onion, sweet and sour, tomato ketchup, hamburger, smoky bacon and Worcester sauce. Non-flavored crisps, which do not use artificial sweeteners, can stay on the shelves.
Officials in London say the omission of crisps from the all-important list was an unintentional error by officials in Brussels. But officials in Brussels say there has been no mistake.
Bureaucratic bungle or no, it looks as if the chips are down.
For the British, this is not a laughing matter. Rather, it is a unwelcome example, albeit minor, of what many here see as arbitrary European tampering with the cherished British way of life.
In a broader sense, the episode underlines the inherent difficulties in creating a single market out of 12 distinct countries, each with very different traditions and tastes.
Crisps may not matter much to the French or the Italians. But they are a dietary staple in this country.
Britons consume two billion bags of the things each year, including 300 million bags of the endangered varieties. They cannot see why their own love affair with these stomach-fillers should be anybody's business but their own.
"My own children like the dreadful things, and if there's no health hazard, shouldn't they be free to eat what they want?" asked Teddy Taylor, a member of Parliament who has long warned that too much co-mingling with Europe would threaten all that is British.
Added Taylor: "What is the point of voting in elections, when the decisions that affect your life are made by some bloke in Brussels and what he decides may depend on what he had for breakfast?"
The "bloke" in question is Martin Bangemann, a German who works at European Community headquarters in Brussels as the commissioner for industry. Few Britons had ever heard of him until he launched what one newspaper dubbed ''the great snack attack," of which the last has certainly not been heard.