Hot Cross Buns Can Fool South African Breathalysers Into Thinking You’re Drunk

A new viral video appears to show two Cape Town police officers using hot cross buns to increase their breath alcohol results.

In the video, an officer blows into the breathalyser and is shown to have a reading of 0.00mg – indicating that there is no alcohol in his system.

However, after eating a hot cross bun, the officer’s breathalyser reading is shown as 0.21mg, just below the ordinary legal limit of 0.24mg.

Speaking to BusinessTech, Justice Project South Africa chair, Howard Dembovsky, said that this reading is actually well over the professional driver limit of 0.10mg and would lead to possible jail time.

He added that this is a well-known issue, and that he had been presenting on the flaws of these types of handheld breath alcohol screener systems for several years.

“People don’t realise that these systems are not of evidential quality and that they detect mouth alcohol as breath alcohol,” he said.

“This particular Dräger model is used at roadblocks. The proper evidential breath testing equipment costs twice the amount and is a massive machine.”

Dembovsky warned that this is not the only fault with this type of machine and that some people may be prejudiced if they consume foods that deliver naturally higher ethanol levels which could set off these systems.

When faced with these machines, Dembovsky offered the following two tips:

  • If you have eaten garlic, don’t spray breath-freshener in your mouth as it makes the machines go haywire;
  • If you have been eating food that you suspect has alcohol in it, keep a bottle of water in your car to wash your mouth out before taking the test.

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