Consuming Breads, Pizzas or Buns can increase the risks of cancer, according to a study released by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). And this is not just limited to white breads but Brown bread, multigrain, wholewheat and pizza breads.
As per CSE, the samples they have collected from across Delhi are packed with contain residues of potassium bromate, potassium iodate and both. Potassium Bromate is classified to 2B carcinogenic group which can increase the risks of cancer, while potassium iodate can trigger thyroid disorders, and increase the risks of thyroid cancer.
The report from Centre for Science and Environment also states that potassium bromate (KBrO3) is used in bread to achieve high rising and a uniform finish, and breadmakers use potassium iodate (KIO3) as flour treatment agents. These chemicals have the potential to show adverse negative impact on the health of consumers.
The Pollution Monitoring Laboratory (PML) at CSE collected 38 bread and bakery samples from retail shops, bakeries and fast food outlets around Delhi to find if the potassium bromate and potassium iodate are present in the different types of breads. They included the samples white bread, whole wheat/atta bread, brown bread, multigrain bread, sandwich bread, ready-to-eat burger and ready-to-eat pizza breads.
The study has found that around 84 per cent samples were found to be containing potassium bromate or iodate in the range of 1.15-22.54 parts per million (ppm). 75 per cent samples of ready-to-eat burger and ready-to-eat pizza breads were proved to contains the cancer-causing chemicals.
“The highest level of potassium bromate and/or iodate was found in sandwich bread. This was followed by pav, bun and white bread. Even the average level of the residues was high in these product categories,” the report stated.
Most Manufacturing bread brands are not mentioning the two cancer-causing chemicals in their ingredients list. Several countries across world including Australia, and some parts of Europe, Canada and China have banned the use of potassium bromate and/or iodate. However, US and India have imposed no such bans, though the former has asked bakers to voluntarily avoid using the ingredients.
The CSE however advises the The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to impose a ban on the use of potassium bromate in making bread and bakery products with immediate effect. It reminds that there are healthy alternatives to replace the cancer-causing ingredients, and there is no reason why this chemical should be allowed specifically, since the residues are found to be present in the end-product. CSE recommends same ban for the use of potassium iodate as well
Health Minister JP Nadda, responding to the use of potassium iodate said, ““We are seized of the matter. I have told my officials to report to me on an urgent basis. There is no need to panic. Very soon we will come out with the (probe) report.”