15. The miller's tale

Posted: 29 June 2001

Bread originated in Egypt. The first loaf ever was baked by a miller who'd fallen asleep before putting his biscuit mix in the oven, and woke hours later to find the yeast in the wheat flour had risen - and he had discovered the art of bread-making. Egyptians today are fiercely protective of the quality of their bread, and deeply suspicious of any attempts to tamper with it. This presents a headache for government ministers trying to persuade their countrymen of the benefits of fortifying their bread with iron - a staple practice in Western countries for over 50 years.

The most common nutritional deficiency in the world, iron deficiency is a severe health problem that affects more than 3.5 billion people around the world, causing a range of problems, from extreme lethargy to low birth weight, stunting, maternal mortality and loss of productivity on a national scale. More than half the population of Middle Eastern countries are iron deficient, yet fortifying flour with iron costs just US$2 per person per lifetime.

The Miller's Tale looks at progress on introducing fortified flour in Egypt and Yemen, two of the worst affected countries.

This film forms part of TVE's Life Series ll on City Life. To order tapes of any of the programmes in the Life series please contact TVE's distribution office by clicking here.
TVE, 21 Elizabeth Street, Victoria, LONDON SW1W 9RP. Telephone: +44 20 7901 8855; fax: +44 20 7901 8856.
To order online, visit TVE's
Moving Pictures catalogue.
All the programmes can be viewed in streaming video on the City Life website, where there are also web links, radio links and programme transcripts.