SHOMA PATNAIK | NT
A study by the state food and drug administration has revealed the presence of potassium bromate, a cancer causing chemical, in at least four bread samples in Goa.
Contrary to the claims by manufacturers that no Goan bread contains potassium bromate, an analysis of 18 samples drawn by the FDA and released on Tuesday shows four samples testing positive to the harmful chemical.
Of the four that tested positive, three are sliced bread and one is pizza bread. More breads testing positive cannot be ruled out as report on 11 samples is to be released and expected by June 2.
FDA director Salim Veljee said that all the four samples contained potassium bromate below 25 parts per million as against the permissible limit of 50 parts per million as stipulated under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and the Rules / Regulation.
The manufacturers “indicated or disclosed in the list of ingredients on the label that potassium bromate was added”.
Potassium bromate is used as a flour treatment agent to give a blooming effect. It is used for the bread which is to be consumed over a period of “more than a day”, he said.
Last week, a report of the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment said the use of potassium bromate as an additive in food products may lead to cancer. As a result, food safety officers in Bambolim had taken samples of 29 breads. It included local pao, sliced bread (brown and white), pizza bread, certain cakes and other bread variations like hotdog bread, bun bread, etc.
While the laboratory report of 18 samples came in on Tuesday evening, the report of 11 samples (including four cakes, four sliced breads, one pizza bread, one bun bread and one local pao) is expected shortly.
At present there is no ban or prohibition on addition of potassium bromate in bread but once the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India notifies or issues a ban on addition of the chemical it cannot be added as an additive, said Veljee.
He said that as a matter of precaution consumers should check the labels for the list of ingredients added in bread which is prepackaged like sliced bread, pizza bread to ascertain the presence or addition of potassium bromate.
The CSE study discovered the presence of potassium bromate in 38 samples of popular bread brands in the national capital. The CSE also found the presence of potassium iodate, a thyroid inducer.
The presence of iodate in bread can be attributed to salt, said Veljee.
Damodar Naik, manufacturing franchisee of Monginis, said the entire bread controversy seems to be kicked up by somebody who wants to enter the bread market.
Naik said that news of cancer causing chemicals needs to be trashed as the chemical is being used by manufacturers within permissible limits, and as laid down by the FSSAI.