By Talal Al-Qashqari Al-Madinah
The baking profession in Saudi Arabia is almost completely dominated by expatriates, most of whom are not qualified and proficient in their work. They also violate the rules of hygiene.
This is why Jeddah Mayoralty recently shut down 55 bakeries and served warning notices to 151 others. The violations against these bakeries included a poor level of hygiene, failure to sterilize equipment, negligence in the disposal of garbage, the use of expired and rotten food, and violation of regulations with regard to packaging and transporting baked goods.
I want to emphasize that I am not against expatriate workers. However, it is clear that most of them do not have any proficiency or experience in baking, which is more an art than a trade. These expats were compelled to take up this job when they failed to find jobs in the trades for which they had been recruited. Bakers in Saudi Arabia include expatriates who earlier worked as plumbers, shepherds, blacksmiths and in other similar jobs.
I wish Saudi youths were attracted to this trade. It would be a decent and profitable job for them if they acquired proficiency in it. It is strange that we are among the people in the world who consume the most bread but who prepare very little of it with our own hands.
I recently received a WhatsApp message, which said that baking bread is a decent job for Saudis because it is a trade that began with our great grandfather Prophet Adam (peace be upon him). It is believed that when he was sent down to earth, he brought with him some seeds of buckwheat, and that angels taught him how to cultivate and harvest it before kneading it into dough and baking it.
I don’t know why Saudis show little interest in this profession thereby allowing expatriates to have the upper hand.