Demands to ban substances harmful to health used in the food industry in Egypt

  • Attia Nabil
  • BBC Cairo

A man carries bread over his head on a busy street

Muhammad Hassan (not his real name) sits in a square in eastern Cairo, and in front of him is the table of bread that he shares in baking and selling.

The seller is considering a new way to make bread more attractive to customers, after the government decided to ban the use of potassium bromate, known commercially as “bread improver”, from circulation in the Egyptian market, due to its danger to public health.

Muhammad says that this material used to give a smooth texture to the loaf of bread, an acceptable shape and a pleasant aroma, and it also helped speed up the fermentation and ripening processes inside the bread ovens, which was what made customers accept to buy from it in a very short time compared to other sellers.

Commercial fraud and weak oversight

The National Center for the Right to Medicines – a non-governmental human rights body – is in charge of monitoring the quality of food and medicine in the Egyptian market, and a number of local institutions participate in this task.

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