Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Food Safety in Egypt: A Lecture at AUC

By: Amira Mahmoud, Farah Abdelkader, and Farrah El Essawi

Cairo, Egypt – On Monday, March 31, the Chemistry Club at the American University in Cairo hosted a lecture on “Food Safety in Egypt” given by Dr. Tarek El-Arabi, assistant professor of agriculture at Ain Shams University. El-Arabi shared his own opinions about the “safety” of the food industry in Egypt.

El-Arabi has been trying to raise awareness about the gravity of hazardous food in Egypt for many years. He has stated that food safety should be applied in each stage of the food supply chain, beginning with how we produce the food until we dispose of it. But apparently, this is not the case in Egypt.

Egyptian food contains different forms of hazards, including physical or chemical hazards, such as small rocks and nails found in our bread or polyvinyl chloride, a chemical used in plastic packaging. This chemical causes “severe health damage,” explains El-Arabi and it even “takes around two million years to degrade.”

The food safety in Egypt is below zero and the only thing we do is count on personal references for where to eat, which El-Arabi believes is highly dangerous. Just because somebody did not get sick eating at a certain place does not mean that the underlying affects of the hazardous foods will not eventually show.

El-Arabi was asked, “Would word of mouth create awareness, though?” He responded by explaining that while he believes this is not enough, it is definitely a start. He added that when there is a demand for a certain service by the people, the food industries will eventually have to comply. Yet, this demand is not currently prevalent.

Madonna Nassif, head of the Chemistry Club, had contacted El-Arabi to give the lecture. Nassif believes that this topic is important because it “would interest all students, not only chemistry or science students,” and according to the information El-Arabi had to share, one could say it would. This lecture was educational to those attending seeing as it enlightened them on the safety of food which is something we are exposed to everyday.

No comments:

Post a Comment