Breakfasts and common treats have become more fraught with danger as a known carcinogen is used to make majority of the breads, buns and pizzas bases available in Delhi, a new study by Centre for Science and Environment revealed on Monday. Bread industries use potassium bromate and potassium iodate in for treating flour, substances banned in the 1990s across the European Union, and later Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Nigeria, Peru and Columbia.
They are not banned in India, though in 1999, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified potassium bromate as possibly carcinogenic.
Popular brands have been indicted by the study, breads made by Britannia, Harvest Gold and Perfect Bread were found with the highest levels in the samples CSE tested.
The potassium bromate/iodate concentration in Britannia’s white bread measured 17.12 parts per million (PPM), 2.58 ppm in its whole wheat bread, 5.48 ppm in its brown bread, 15.01 ppm in its pav, 16.74 in its fruit bun. The levels in Harvest Gold’s white bread were 17.32 ppm, its brown bread were 5.48 ppm. Perfect Bread’s white bread had 15.01 ppm and its brown bread 8.16 ppm.
The study noted that only Perfect Bread had listed potassium bromate as an ingredient, most of the other companies such as Britannia denied using it at all.
In a statement, Britannia said it “it does not use Potassium Bromate or Iodate as an ingredient in any of its bread recipes. All Britannia Breads products are in 100 per cent compliance to the existing food safety regulations as stipulated by FSSAI.”
It added “FSSAI stipulates usage of all Food Additives in Food Products within per permissible limits. For potassium Bromate/Iodate FSSAI stipulates the permissible limit as 50 ppm max (On flour mass basis).”
The statement made it a point to mention both things, that Britannia does not use the substance at all, and that 50 ppm was the permissible limit set by the Food, Safety and Standards Authority of India.
Such loopholes is why the CSE called on the FSSAI to ban the use of potassium bromate/iodate altogether. For other brands, the All India Bread Makers Association also brought up FSSAI’s limit but said they hadn’t seen the report yet.
Fast food joints such as KFC, Domino’s, McDonald’s, Subway found themselves in the line of fire, though KFC stated that “they do not use flour treated with Potassium Bromate or Potassium Iodate to manufacture our products”. FSSAI did not reply to dna’s emails or phone calls. (DNA)