The bread in your mouth may be toxic, says CSE

The bread in your mouth  may be toxic, says CSE
A study by the Centre for Science and Environment has found that bread sold in the national capital has residues of chemicals which can be hazardous to health.

After the CSE study, food regulator FSSAI said on Monday that it has decided to remove potassium bromate from the list of permitted additives. It is also examining the evidence against potassium iodate before restricting its use.

The CSE’s Pollution Monitoring Laboratory (PML) tested 38 commonly available branded varieties of pre-packaged bread, pavs and buns as well as ready-to-eat burger bread and pizza bread used at popular fast-food outlets.

It found residues of potassium bromate/iodate in the samples, including those of Harvest Gold, Britannia, Le Marche, KFC, Subway, McDonalds, Dominos, Slice of Italy and Pizza Hut products.

“A scientific panel had recommended removal of potassium bromate from the list of additives. So we have already decided to take it out from the list. Soon it will be notified,” Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal told PTI.

Food safety regulations in India allow use of potassium bromate as flour treatment agent in bread and other bakery products. However, the chemical was found as a residue, according to the CSE study.

Britannia, KFC, Subway, McDonald’s, Slice of Italy have denied use of potassium bromate or iodate to the CSE.

Reacting to the CSE report, Union Health Minister J P Nadda 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.”

While potassium bromate, which is classified as a category 2B carcinogen, can be carcinogenic to humans, potassium iodate can trigger thyroid-related diseases, CSE said.

Both the chemicals are banned in the bread manufacturing industry by most countries. India, however, allows both. According to the CSE, 84% of the samples were found to contain potassium bromate or iodate in the range of 1.15 - 22.54 parts per million (ppm).

Only one brand, Perfect Bread, mentions the use of potassium bromate on its label, the CSE said.

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