Rabat – The tagine is one of the most iconic Moroccan products, and despite the rumors published by select local newspapers, is not harmful to health, the Moroccan Head of Government Saad Dine El Othmani recently declared.
During a plenary session in the House of Representatives on February 1, the Moroccan head of government stressed the superb quality of the tagine. El Othmani addressed the concerns due to the rise of rumors of high concentration of lead in the earthware.
Some producers may still use negligible amounts of lead in the production of the baking dish, but they are far below the threshold of danger. While the World Health Organization has set the limit of five milliliters per kilogram, the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism and Handicrafts has set a much more stringent threshold of two milliliters per kilogram.
The president of the Oulja Potters Association, Abderrahim Chanoune explained to a local Moroccan newspaper that “the products are tested [for lead] free of charge in laboratories and are monitored by committees sent by the Ministry of Crafts.”
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Furthermore, the ministry has produced approximately 300 standards associated with the various artisanal production sectors.
The Ministry of Tourism, and Crafts has also established the “Madmoun” label, a certificate that guarantees a high-level craftsmanship and adherence to governmental standards.
“Currently, the craftsmen who do not have this label are very much in the minority, we have practically reached the rate of about 90%,” explained Khalid Rahil, the head of quality, research and development in the ministry.
Rahil also noted that the main consumers of Moroccan artisanal pottery such as the tagine, are the European Union, Africa, Canada and the United States.