Dough additives Banned in Europe, safe in Kingdom?

Dough additives Banned in Europe, safe in Kingdom?


DOUGH conditioners, which are additives used to enhance flour’s strength and elasticity, along with coloring agents, are used by bakeries and pastry shops throughout the Kingdom. The International Agency for Research on Cancer considers one such chemical, potassium bromate, a possible carcinogen. This has led the European Union, Canada, China, Brazil and many other countries to ban its use.

In the Kingdom, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) bans the use of several chemical additives and severely limits the use of others, which means bread and other pastries potentially contain harmful ingredients especially if used excessively, Al-Riyadh daily reports.

According to Dr. Fahd Al-Khudairi, a medical researcher, most types of bread, whether white or whole wheat, sold at local markets contain yeast and dough conditioners.

“You can tell if a cake or any type pastry has these conditioners by pressing onto it and see if the texture is soft and light. These conditioners are harmful because they contain sodium sulfate and hydrogenated oil,” he explained.

Consumer health

Dr. Ghadeer Al-Shammary, professor of nutrition at King Saud University, warned against the excessive use of dough conditioners as they can have negative effects on consumer health.

“Authorities in charge of monitoring bakeries and pastry shops need to run periodic inspection visits and take samples from bread and pastries for testing. They should ensure that these places follow the proper hygienic and safety requirements for making bread,” she said.

To minimize exposure to harmful additives, nutritionist Saleh Al-Jafari recommends the use of whole wheat dough to make bread because it contains a lot of nutrients, vitamins and fibers.

“It (whole wheat bread) prevents high blood sugar and slows the secretion of insulin in the body. It is important that hydrogenated oil is replaced with olive oil and sugar with honey and salt with lemon. Yeast is not as bad as dough conditioners if used in smaller amounts. However, it can have negative effect on people who suffer from gout,” she explained.

Healthy eating habits

According to nutritionist Sattam Al-Bishri, the majority of people in the Kingdom eat white flour based bread, which contains very little vitamins and fibers. Consumers often have few alternatives as most supermarkets offer a limited selection of whole-wheat flour based bread and pastries.

For a balanced diet, the use of oatmeal, whole-wheat flour, whole-wheat grains and bran are recommended for making bread. Consumers should stay clear of preservatives, industrial sweeteners and dough conditioners as they do not add any nutrients to bread.

Food security

Dr. Riyadh Al-Zaheb, assistant professor of therapeutic nutrition, Tabuk University, said bread is one of the basic components of all three meals in the Kingdom, which makes it even more important for people to eat the right kind. “It (bread) plays an important role in food security. Making bread with the use of dough conditioners and other unhealthy materials can have a negative impact on all of society. In fact, the use of oxidants, emulsifiers and other similar ingredients are subject to strict legislation and safety standards to ensure that people eat healthy bread,” he said.

He called upon the concerned authorities to draft stricter legislation for importing ingredients used in making bread and pastries. He also suggested that all ingredients be clearly listed so consumers can make educated choices.

“All bakeries and pastry shops should clearly display information about the ingredients of their products and show the date of production and expiration,” he said.


  1. It is required to check all food not only bakery , including vegetables and fruits . high usage of pesticides or internationally banned items, can only increase number of patients in the hospital for long term . It is required to inspect not only damaged foods ( and vegatbles, fruits ) but also high usage of pesticides /chemicals .

  2. SFDA should take action to ban import of such items like, sodium glucomate widely used in all foods by restuarants & hotels, colors, additives , colors, preservatives which are no use and the use of such items should be prohibited in bakers and restuarants and hotels, as it’s serious carcinogenic, even though with less taste the foods available in the country will be safe.

  3. It is my favourite food for break fast when ever I visit the kingdom, so I must consider an alternative. May Allah protect us ameen

  4. Stop eating bread — and other products made from grain flour — and dramatically improve your health by simultaneously dropping weight, blood pressure, and your risks for obesity, cancer, and heart disease.

    Replace bread and other flour products with whole oats, barley, lentils, beans, and other whole intact/broken grains (but not pulverized into a flour), such as brown rice, millet, quinoa, and even wheat kernels cooked whole!

    Notice how dropping flour from your diet will automatically drop 95% of the packaged snacks, as well as most junk food, which is what many people especially children eat very regularly! That alone will significantly improve health and productivity of the country a lot. Eating more oats, lentils, beans, vegetables, and fruits will take it to a new unprecedented level!

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