Jordan whistleblower claims that food imports are 'unsafe'

Jordan whistleblower claims that some food imports are 'unsafe'
2 min read
02 November, 2021
Social media in Jordan has erupted over revelations made by a former director of Jordan's Food and Drugs Establishment laboratories, Dr. Sanaa Gammoh, who claimed several foodstuff are imported to Jordan despite containing carcinogenic components.
The Jordanian whistleblower claims wheat is among ingredients brought into Jordan despite containing carcinogenic substances [Getty]

The hashtag #SanaaGammoh dominated social media in Jordan on Tuesday following claims made last week by a former food safety official.

The Food and Drugs Establishment of Jordan filed a lawsuit on 30 October against Dr. Sanaa Gammoh, a former director of the body's testing laboratories, saying her allegations were unfounded.

Gommoh is undeterred and stands by her allegations.

"Oh, I welcome the judiciary. It will judge the accuracy of what I said, after spending 20 years speaking to the same people without result," Gammoh told Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad on Tuesday. "This is an opportunity to put all the papers and this whole file on the table."

Many Jordanians expressed support and admiration for Sanaa Gammoh on social media using the hashtag #SolidaritywithSanaGammoh.

The issue has underlined distrust in some sectors of society about food standards in the kingdom.

In an interview with local media on 23 October, Dr. Gammoh alleged that several foodstuff imported into Jordan contained concerning levels of carcinogenic substances.

She also claimed that basic products including milk, fish, wheat, rice and legumes did not meet food safety standards, according to tests carried out in her laboratory. 

Dr. Gammoh highlighted the relationship between some of the components detected in the food and the emergence of colorectal cancer and breast cancer.

The Food and Drugs Establishment dismissed Gammoh's claims in the aftermath, but several MPs called for an investigation into the case.

Some Jordanians referred to the fate of former health minister Abdel Rahim Malhas, who resigned from his position in the 1990s after making allegations that Arab states were importing foodstuff unfit for consumption.

The director of the authority, Dr. Nizar Mhaidat, stated on Monday that the food safety system in Jordan is effective and that Gammoh's statements are based on the research of a Master's student she supervised, and not on published research.