Turkish PM determined to end ‘era of white bread’

Turkish PM determined to end ‘era of white bread’

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish PM determined to end ‘era of white bread’

A regulation that may alter the amount and the ingredients of bread looms in the wake of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s campaign against wasting bread. AA Photo

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan returned to the issue of wasting bread again during his party’s group meeting yesterday, repeating his call to end the use of white flour.

“Our leading principle is clear: whoever is full while his or her neighbor is hungry is not one of us,” Erdoğan said, referring to a quote by the Prophet Muhammad during his speech. “When my brother in Somalia withers away for a drop of milk, or a slice of bread, one who simply presses bread on his lips and tosses it away is not one of us. We will grow with our own moral values.“

The prime minister started a campaign against wasting bread in the country last week, hinting toward regulations that may alter the amount as well as the ingredients of consumption-ready bread. Erdoğan said today that “the era of white bread” would soon come to an end.

“I spoke to my ministers; I told them to end the era of white bread. Let’s produce our bread from whatever is the organic form of the wheat. We are leaving white flour behind.”

Two billion loaves go to waste every year

Official numbers released by the Turkish Grain Board (TMO) show that nearly 2 billion loaves of bread go to waste in Turkey every year, averaging a massive 6 million daily. About 188 bakeries and 26 flour factories have been working unnecessarily, and millions of kilos of salt, flour and yeast have been going to waste. “I ask everyone to think twice before buying bread,” Erdoğan said.

The whole country has been debating the issue over the last week, voicing both positive and negative responses.

Bakers seem to agree with Erdoğan on his quest.

“A balance needs to be set in the bread-making business,” Sakarya baker Fatih Altay told Anatolia news agency. “The amount of bread produced should match the amount of bread sold.”

Erdoğan’s insistence on ending the prevalence of white flour could also be justified, according to Dr. Gülay Koçoğlu, a professor at Cumhuriyet University, who branded whole wheat bread as the healthier choice.

Whole wheat bread helps the body fight against heart diseases, diabetes, hypertension and even cancer, Koçoğlu said. The deputy chair of the Republican People’s Party parliamentary group, Emine Ülker Tarhan, however, criticized the prime minister for his support of the anti-waste campaign.

Tarhan called Erdoğan “a man who tells us not to waste bread and takes a helicopter to his Friday prayers.” k HDN