You might have heard about the bread stir which has been in news for last couple of days. Bread, which is a staple in most houses has been found to be unsafe for eating. Let us understand what the whole hullabaloo is all about.
The Delhi-based Centre for Science & Environment(CSE) recently conducted tests on white bread, bun, pav and pizza bread and the results were alarming. The reason of alarm is the presence of potassium bromate(KBrO3) and potassium iodate(KIO3), two chemical compounds commonly used in baking.
What did CSE find?
The unfortunate incidence is that 84% of the 38 samples that were examined, tested positive for the presence of potassium bromate and potassium iodate.
The samples that were tested belonged to major players like Harvest gold and Britannia and were found to test high in these chemicals.
Products of major multinational players, KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Subway, McDonald’s and Slice of Italy have also been found to contain higher levels of potassium bromate and potassium iodate.
So, What is so scary about Potassium Bromate and Potassium Iodate
“Just two slices of bread every day is enough to put us at a higher risk of thyroid and cancer,” Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director, CSE.
According to CSE, KBrO3 is a class 2B carcinogen, which means it can possible cause cancer in human beings. According to International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), potassium bromate was found to cause renal tubular tumours in laboratory animals. Long term carcinogenicity studies showed that it can damage genetic information, causing mutation.
Potassium Iodate or KIO3 is a chemical which can lead to higher iodine consumption leading to thyroid disorders.
CSE noted that they re-confirmed the presence of potassium bromate/iodate in a few samples through an external third-party laboratory.
Outcome of the Study
All India Bread Manufacturers Association have given a statement, stating it had not yet seen the CSE report. But it also mentioned that “Food safety and Standards Authority of India’s (FSSAI) regulations permit the use of Potassium Bromate and/or Potassium Iodate at 50 ppm Max for bread and at 20 ppm Max for Bakery purpose”.
The Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has said it would issue a notification shortly to remove potassium bromate from its food additives list. However, bread makers argue that working out a replacement in manufacturing will take time and they should get three to six months for a switch.
References: NDTV, ZeeNews