Yet another Food Safety Scandal in India

bread

Did you know your breakfast bread slices contains cancer -causing chemical? A report from Centre for Science and Environment claimed that 84 % of the 38 popular brands of bread contained Cancer – Causing chemicals – Potassium Bromate. Deposits of the chemical found in the range of 1.5 to 22.54ppm in bread, pav, and bun. Though permitted by Indian apex food regulatory body FSSAI, the chemical banned in various countries. In fact, the chemical termed as a possible carcinogen by WHO.

What is Potassium Bromate?
Potassium bromate is powerful oxidizing agent and flour improver, widely used as food additives in bread making for over 50 years. It helps chemically age flour much faster than open air (performed traditionally), bleaches dough and enhances its elasticity by strengthening its network of molecule bridges which makes for the formation small, thin-walled bubbles as the bread rises.
When identified its carcinogenic properties?
In 1982, researchers in Japan published the first of series of studies showing that potassium bromate causes cancer in thyroids, kidneys and other body parts of rats and mice. Subsequently, in 1999 the International Agency for Research on Caner (IARC), classified potassium bromate as 2B Carcinogenic agent (possibly carcinogen to humans). Ever since then, the additive had been banned from use in food products in various countries like European Union, Argentina, Japan, Brazil, Canada, Nigeria, South Korea, Peru, Sri Lanka (in2001) and China (in2005).
However, still in the United States, the use of Potassium bromate not been banned, recommended a warning label on product when bromate flour is used in bread or bakery product
Why not been banned in the United States?
If used within prescribed limits (15-30ppm), theoretically completely used

up during the bake and leaves no trace in the finished product. Since there was inadequate human evidence and long-term effect. The additive uses not been banned in the United States. But, U.S.FDA advice the manufacturer moderate use and proper labelling of food contains potassium bromate
What are the effects of Potassium bromate?
In tests on lab animal exposure to potassium bromate influenced the possibility of both benign and malignant cancer in the thyroid and peritoneum- the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and resulted in significant increases in cancer of the animal’s Kidneys, thyroid and other organs.
What happen after the finding in India?
FSSAI recommended the Health ministry for the removal of potassium bromate from the list of permissible food additives and notified banned from the country. Currently, FSSAI allows the use of Potassium bromate as flour treatment agent in (bleaches/ improver) bread and bakery products. Potassium bromate is one of the 11,000 food additives that allowed in the food business.
Some of the product with Potassium bromate are:

  • Bread
  • Pizza base/ dough
  • Bakery products like Puff, Cupcakes
  • Buns
  • Fruits Buns
  • Garlic sticks
  • Muffin
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