Friends don’t let friends eat bread and drive a bus.

Among the many baked goods in Japanese convenience stores and supermarkets, mushipan is a reliably simple and cheap snack. Although it’s technically steamed and not baked, its incredibly fluffy texture will give any cake or bun a run for its money in terms of satisfaction.

▼ And it’s even better toasted!

It was also the breakfast of choice for one city bus driver in Takatsuki City, Osaka Prefecture before heading in to work on 23 October. After quickly scarfing one down about 15 minutes before arriving at the depot, the driver was then administered a breathalyzer test which read 0.11 milligrams per liter.

While this was still a little under the legal limit of 0.15 milligrams it exceeded the company’s own limit of 0.07 milligrams. He apologized saying “I ate some mushipan,” but was still forbidden to drive by the company and officially reprimanded.

This is not an uncommon problem in the industry and in addition to mushipan has occurred in drivers who consumed other types of bread, sandwiches, kimchi, or energy drinks. Even using mouthwash has resulted in drivers blowing over the limit.

▼ It probably goes without saying that sake-flavored Kit Kats are playing with fire.

In most cases, such as that of mushipan, the food itself contains trace amounts of alcohol. As it does in the production of beer and sake, yeast ferments grains such as wheat and rice, turning their starch into sugar and then further into alcohol.

The amount of alcohol is very small and unlikely to intoxicate anyone who eats it. However, particles of the bread get trapped between teeth which are then placed right next to the business end of the breathalyzer. So the breath entering the device technically does contain alcohol, even though none of it is coming from the person’s system.

Luckily, in most cases this can be easily fixed by thoroughly brushing and rinsing out the mouth, but in the case of this driver in his 40s, even after rinsing twice and retesting he continued to blow over the limit and was forbidden from driving. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, it was likely due to him eating the bread so soon before taking the test.

While this is common knowledge to people in the transportation industries, many laypeople in online comments were surprised by this effect of certain foods and rules surrounding them.

“There’s alcohol in bread?”
“I heard from a taxi driver that eating bread can do that, or even just brushing your teeth too close to the time of testing.”
“My boss once decided to disinfect the breathalyzer with alcohol and everyone tested positive that day.”
“So they can’t eat mushipan? That sucks…”
“It seems like there’s alcohol in everything, which is scary because I’m allergic to it.”

“I heard some breads are worse than others for that.”
“I drive a truck and was told not to eat anything like that before work or I wouldn’t be able to.”
“I didn’t know drivers had to be so careful about what they eat.”

Technically such drivers can still eat whatever they want but must also ensure no traces of it remain before taking a breathalyzer test, which is certainly a drag during hectic mornings. It’s also good to know when choosing an edible gift for friends and family who work behind a wheel. You just need to know which foods don’t contain traces of alcohol… Stag beetles are the only things that come to my mind and I’m not even sure about that.

Source: Yomiuri Online, Mainichi Shimbun, My Game News Flash
Images: ©SoraNews24
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