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Don't munch & drive? What a positive breathalyser reading after cross bun means

A dietician said the positive alcohol reading of a breathalyser after eating a hot-cross bun was due to a digestive process in the mouth.

Picture: Pixabay

CAPE TOWN - Will eating hot cross buns put you over the legal breath alcohol limit for driving?

That's the burning question after a video on social media showed a traffic officer test positive for breath alcohol after two bites of a hot cross bun.

Traffic officials have confirmed a breathalyser may show a positive reading if the breath alcohol test is conducted immediately after eating a hot cross bun, but the result will definitely come back negative 15 minutes after consuming the Easter treat.

“The device used in the video that went viral was merely a screening device. The device used to convict you in court is a far more complex machine,” said Western Cape traffic's Advocate Kyle Reinecke.

Dietician at Stellenbosch University’s nutrition information centre Irene Labuschagne said the positive reading was due to a digestive process in the mouth.

“(The process) yields small amounts of alcohol where the sugar is basically converted to carbon dioxide and ethanol alcohol and that gives the false reading,” she said, adding that the result “doesn’t reflect the person’s blood alcohol levels at all”.

Sugar-free gum or mouthwash can also lead to a positive breath alcohol result.

WATCH: Busting the hot cross buns and breathalyser myth


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