Image by Alida Ryder.
In the lead up to Easter weekend, it is hot cross bun everything here at Food24 headquarters. Buns for breakfast, buns for tea, it’s just spices, raisins and butter all over the place.
But could eating a hot cross bun cause you to fail a breathalyser? A viral video doing the rounds today on Twitter and Facebook suggests so.
In January of this year, an Australian truck driver gave a positive result for alcohol after consuming a hot cross bun snack behind the wheel. Nine News Australia later tested the claim and showed on camera, that yes, in fact, certain foods can lead to a false positive for alcohol.
The South African viral video shows a traffic officer in uniform, seated behind a desk. Another man (off camera) passes him the breathalyser and shows that he is completely sober, registering a mouth alcohol reading of 0.00.
The officer is handed a pack of hot cross buns by the cameraman who says, “I bought these from Checkers…traditional hot cross buns”.
The officer takes two bites from the bun and appears to be enjoying himself. But shame, someone should have given him some soft butter! After swallowing the bun, the officer is handed the breathalyser, only this time the device shows a reading of 0.21!
Can it be true that eating a hot cross bun can cause you to fail a drunk driving test? Watch the video here:
Well, there are a few things to explain here. While it is true that in some recipes, the raisins are soaked in brandy to plumpen them up and to add flavour, the actual amount of alcohol is very low indeed. Almost all store-bought hot cross buns will not contain alcohol, as they are intended for the consumption of everyone, including small children.
It is known that some foods can interact with the breathalyser test, such as foods made with yeast or that contain residual alcohol such as breathe freshener or mouthwash. For this reason, traffic officers are trained to assess the intoxication of a driver using not only the breathalyser test but also a physical examination.
So yes, eating a hot cross bun immediately before taking an intoxication test may cause you to fail.
There is a simple fix for this, says Justice Project South Africa chairperson Howard Dembovsky “If [the person in the hot cross bun video] had rinsed his mouth out with water prior to blowing, it would have given no result. The alcohol clings to your cheeks, but it only stays there for about 20 minutes,”.
If you find yourself in this situation, simply take a few large glasses of water and retake the test in a few minutes.
Have a safe Easter weekend everyone, and remember to buckle up. Pack some lekker padkos, slow down and read these 5 top tips to keep you safe on the road.